Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic is close to signing a five-year deal with Barcelona, AS.com reports.
Following several weeks of negotiations, the Camp Nou hierarchy is working to seal a definitive agreement with the Croatia international, club sources told AS. Other reports state that a deal has already been put in place and that Rakitic will become a Barcelona player for a fee of 20 million euros.
The 26-year-old has been on Barcelona's radar for some time. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have also expressed an interest in signing Sevilla's captain but Rakitic, advised by his brother and father, has decided to play at Camp Nou.
Barcelona had been attempting to sign Atletico midfielder Koke but the impossibility of negotiating a reduction in the Spain international's release clause led to the club settling on Rakitic as a summer reinforcement.
Rakitic appears to have been lined up as a replacement for Cesc Fabregas, who appears set for a move to Chelsea. AS reports that Gerard Pique's inadvertent revelation this week that Fabregas would be leaving Barca for 33 million euros caused consternation among the club's directors, who had been hoping to spark a bidding war for the former Arsenal midfielder.