Chelsea are leading the race between a handful of Premier League clubs to sign Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic, with the Catalan side's midfield becoming increasingly packed.
Sport report that the Blues will look to secure a summer move for the World Cup finalist over the coming months, after Paris Saint-Germain failed with a €90m approach of their own just last summer.
The impending arrival of Frenkie de Jong and the likely move for Adrien Rabiot will leave Barça with far more midfielders than they have slots to play them in, leaving a departure likely – and Rakitic appears to be one of candidates attracting the most interest.
Arthur's breakthrough since his summer arrival from Grêmio has pencilled him in as the future of the club's central midfield axis, with De Jong's €75m+ move giving him the status of an expected starter in the squad. In the third midfield slot, when Ernesto Valverde utilises a 4-3-3 formation with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele as his forwards, is Sergio Busquets – because he is Sergio Busquets.
Arturo Vidal is also there.
While Rakitic has featured in all but one of the club's La Liga games this season, starting 18 of them, his advancing age and the regeneration of Barça's squad mean that he could be out the door this summer, with Chelsea considering a bid said to be below PSG's €90m and comfortably below his €125m release clause – while still being significant.
Manchester United and Arsenal are also keeping tabs on the 30-year-old's situation, with the latter particularly looking for reliable midfield reinforcements.
Another man who could be the victim of Barcelona's midfield regeneration is Philippe Coutinho, who was touted by the club as a long-term alternative to Xavi when he arrived a year ago – but his more direct playing style and a host of sub-par performances have left him as no more than a rotation option this season.