Manchester United & Chelsea boosted in £20m playmaker chase

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Manchester United and Chelsea appear to have been handed a boost in the race to sign Sevilla playmaker Ivan Rakitic, with the player's agent having confirmed that his client has still not agreed a new deal with his current employers.

25-year-old Rakitic, who joined the La Liga outfit from Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in 2011, has fewer than 18 months remaining on his deal at Sevilla and has been linked with a move away from the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

Premier League duo Chelsea and Manchester United - as well as rivals Liverpool - are all said to be interested in the Croatian international, and their hopes of securing a deal for the player appear to have improved with no new deal on the table.

"Is everything done for the renewal of his contract? No, there is still no [new] contract. We're talking, of course, but nothing is decided yet. We are in contract with the club, but I emphasise that there is still no news," brother and agent Dejan Rakitic told TMW in an interview that was quoted by talkSPORT.

Despite Rakitic's previous insistence that he is happy where he is, the lack of a new deal must surely come as some cause for concern given the fact that it is surely unlikely Sevilla will be willing to risk him leaving the club for nothing when his current contract expires.

Manchester United, who currently sit seventh in the Premier League table after enduring a tough 2013/14 season under new boss David Moyes, are currently short of real quality in midfield and could certainly use a player of Rakitic's quality at Old Trafford.

Chelsea, meanwhile, could feasibly have room for another playmaker following the £37.1 million sale of Juan Mata to Manchester United during the recent January transfer window.

While Jose Mourinho did bring in Egyptian international Mohamed Salah towards the latter stages of that window, the former Basel man is far more effective as a winger whereas Rakitic - who has a £20 million buyout clause - is at his best occupying a more central role behind the striker.

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