As Xavi, arguably one of the greatest midfielders of all time, gets closer to retirement, FC Barcelona are left with impossible task of finding the Spaniard's replacement.
The veteran, who's been involved with Barcelona since 1995, is a fan favourite at the Camp Nou, and his eventual replacement will be scrutinised week in, week out by nearly 100,000 passionate Barca fans.
Last summer Croatian star Ivan Rakitic was purchased from La Liga rivals Sevilla for a reported £16 million. Rakitic has enjoyed his first year in Catalonia, pulling the strings for Barcelona in a resurgent midfield.
This time around, Barcelona are expected to re-enter the transfer market in search of purchasing Rakitic's international team-mate, Mateo Kovacic.
Kovacic, who spent six years with Dinamo Zagreb, is one of the most sought after midfielders in world football. A host of top European clubs, including Arsenal and Liverpool, are interested in purchasing the 21-year-old.
Barcelona are reported to be in pole position to sign Kovacic, after Sky Sport Italia reported that Inter Milan's sporting director, Piero Ausilio, met with Barcelona counterpart Ariedo Braida to discuss the foundations of a potential deal.
Kovacic still has four years left on his contact at the San Siro Stadium, with Inter keen to hold onto their prized possession for at least another season. Barca will have to pay in excess of £20m for the youngster, who is touted to have a big future for Croatia.
Kovacic made three appearances for Croatia at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Although two of those we're off the bench, the playmaker is set for a big future at club and international level.
Would Kovacic be a success at Barcelona? Should he stay in Serie A for a little while longer? Let us know in the comments!
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