Manchester United & Liverpool handed boost in £33m star chase

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Manchester United and Liverpool look to have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

According to reports from Estadio Deportivo cited by the Daily Mirror, the La Liga outfit are eyeing a move for Fenerbahce star Mehmet Topal - a potential deal that could pave the way for Rakitic to exit the club.

25-year-old Rakitic, who joined Sevilla from Bundesliga side Schalke 04 back in 2011, has played a crucial role for Los Rojiblancos in recent years and has contributed eight goals and six assists in 18 La Liga games so far this season.

The Croatian international, who has 59 senior caps for his country and recently helped them to reach the 2014 World Cup finals via the lottery of the playoffs, has also been the subject of constant transfer speculation in recent weeks.

Rakitic, who has reportedly been given a valuation of a whopping £33 million by his present employers, has most prominently been linked with a switch to the Premier League - with the player believed to be a transfer target for fierce rivals Manchester United and Liverpool.

Manchester United, whose desperate plunge into mediocrity continued this weekend with a morale-sapping 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Swansea City at Old Trafford, are evidently short on quality in midfield and could certainly benefit from a player of Rakitic's skill and guile.

Liverpool, meanwhile, boast a particularly potent attack with impressive Brazilian starlet Philippe Coutinho pulling the strings behind the fearsome figure of Luis Suarez.

However, Brendan Rodgers' side, who advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup following a 2-0 win over Oldham Athletic at Anfield yesterday, have suffered a number of injuries to their midfield in recent weeks and could be similarly boosted by Rakitic's arrival.

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