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Barcelona close to cash-plus-player deal for Sevilla midfielder Rakitic

Barcelona sports chief Andoni Zubizarreta was in Seville yesterday for talks with Sevilla over Ivan Rakitic's transfer.

Barca coach Luis Enrique has pushed Zubi to close a deal for the Croatia international as soon as he can.

The sports director flew to Seville yesterday accompanied by another Barca executive to open negotiations with Sevilla officials about a fee for the midfielder.

Rakitic's buyout clause is set at €40 million, but with just a year to run on his existing deal, Zubi insisted Barca would not go higher than €20 million.

The cash component could be driven down further with both clubs agreeing for Barca B striker Denis Suarez, formerly of Manchester City, to move to Sevilla in part exchange. Sevilla are insisting on an option to buy, while Barca are only interested in a straight loan.

Negotiations ran late into the night, but Sport says an announcement over an agreement could be made in the next 24 hours.

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