Barcelona enter race for Koke

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Barcelona are preparing to launch a bid to sign Koke from La Liga title rivals Atletico Madrid this summer, reports Spanish newspaper Sport.

The playmaker has been a vital cog in Diego Simeone's team this season, helping them to the top of the table where they are favourites to take the title.

However, the breakout stars of the team, including the likes of Diego Costa, have drawn the attention of other clubs and they will likely struggle to keep the team together this summer.

One star who is set to conjure a lot of transfer talk this summer is Koke, who will likely play a key part in Spain's bid to retain the World Cup in Brazil. The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are all interested in the player but Barcelona are set to throw their hat in the ring.

After having their transfer embargo lifted, Barcelona are preparing for a big assault in the transfer window in a bid to rebuild an ageing team. Koke, who has been labelled the next Xavi more than once in the past, has been moved towards the top of a long list of targets by technical director Andoni Zubizarreta.

According to the same publication, both Chelsea and Manchester United are still keeping tabs on the player and would consider rivalling Barcelona if they make a bid. However, Atletico are likely to refuse all offers under his release clause of €60m.

That sum should not be a problem for Manchester United, who have a reported £200m to blow in the transfer market this summer. For Chelsea, however, frugality is the flavour of the month as they tread a fine line with Uefa over Financial Fair Play.

Diego Costa is already looking like moving to Stamford Bridge but Jose Mourinho will likely have to generate the transfer funds for more purchases through player sales.

Barcelona's sudden interest in Koke could be a sign that they are preparing for the departure of Cesc Fabregas, who has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford.

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