Ivan Rakitic joins Barcelona on five-year deal

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Barcelona have confirmed the signing of Sevilla playmaker Ivan Rakitic, who was also a reported transfer target for Liverpool and Chelsea this summer.

The Croatia international has penned a five-year contract at Camp Nou following a standout 2013/14 campaign at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, where he scored 15 goals in 59 appearances in all competitions for Unai Emery's side.

Rakitic played an influential role as Sevilla lifted the Europa League title last season, and is now starring for his country at the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

The 26-year-old represents new Barcelona boss Luis Enrique's first major signing since succeeding Gerardo Martino, and arrives as a replacement for Cesc Fabregas who left the Spanish giants last week and completed a move to Stamford Bridge.

Having been deemed surplus to requirements in Catalunya Fabregas opted to return to the Premier League, but after Arsenal turned down their option to re-sign the former Gunners captain he decided to link up with Jose Mourinho in west London.

TalkSPORT reports how Chelsea had been mooted as admirers of Rakitic at the back end of last season, but the arrival of the Spain international probably put an end to the Blues alleged interest this summer.

Brendan Rodgers is also believed to have been keeping tabs on the attacking midfielder's situation in Seville, as he looks to strengthen his Anfield squad ahead of Liverpool's return to the Champions League next season.

However, any hopes the Reds may have held of luring Rakitic to Merseyside have now been dashed following confirmation of his move to Barcelona which sees former Manchester City youngster Denis Suarez move in the opposite direction to Sevilla on a two-year loan deal.

Confirming the transfer on their official Instagram account, Rakitic posed for a picture wearing the Barcelona shirt with the following caption.

"FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Ivan Rakitic. Ivan Rakitic will sign a contract with FC Barcelona for the next five seasons.

"Both clubs have also agreed for Denis Suárez to be loaned to the Andalusian club for the next two seasons."

Born in Switzerland, Rakitic joined Sevilla from Schalke in 2011, where he scored 32 goals in 149 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit. It was in Spain where he was transformed from a winger into a central playmaker, and in addition to his goals last season the Croatian also contributed 17 assists in by far his most productive campaign for Emery's side.

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