Liverpool could be presented with an intriguing opportunity this summer, which would see them land an experienced midfielder in a swap-deal with one of Europe’s giants.
Reported by The Liverpool Echo, Spanish outlet Don Balon states Barcelona are ready to offer Liverpool Ivan Rakitic in a deal that would see Philippe Coutinho move the other way. Whilst on paper they may seem a strange swap, Rakitic’s experience would be difficult to turn down.
Rakitic has come under fire in Catalonia this season and could be offered an exit as part of a restructure within the team, which is likely to follow at the end of the campaign when Luis Enrique leaves his managerial role and begins a sabbatical period.
Whilst Rakitic and Coutinho are not similar players, Rakitic’s arrival could land the Reds a top midfielder for a cut-price on top of a sizeable fee for their Brazilian star- which would give Jurgen Klopp plenty of funds to land a direct replacement for Coutinho.
How do they compare?
Per Squawka statistics, Coutinho has played just one minute more than Rakitic this season and his pass completion percentage (83%) puts him behind Rakitic with 86%. However, the Brazilian has five assists compared to just one from Rakitic.
In front of goal, Coutinho has found the net six times compared to Rakitic’s five and Liverpool’s star-man also boasts a far superior shot accuracy– 55% compared to Rakitic’s 46%. That said, Rakitic does adopt a deeper position in Barcelona’s line-up.
Defensively is where Rakitic has the edge, as the Croatian maestro has more tackles, interceptions and aerial duels won. Again though, this is largely down to their differences as a player.
Where would Rakitic fit in?
As mentioned, Ivan Rakitic wouldn’t directly fill the void from Coutinho’s departure and would instead likely sit in the deep-midfield pairing alongside Reds captain Jordan Henderson- providing a blanket to the defence and supporting the attack where necessary.
Rakitic has the ability to pick out the right balls to launch an attack, which would work well in Liverpool’s set-up. Jurgen Klopp’s side is also fairly young, so another experienced head in midfield would certainly not be a bad thing.
Of course, Liverpool would still have the fill the void left by Coutinho but the Reds should have the ability to do exactly that and it may even work out in their favour, as they could elect to find a direct number ten or a wide-player that would slot-in perfectly to Klopp’s ranks.