Barcelona will not consider an offer from title rivals Atlético Madrid for midfielder Ivan Rakitić according to reports in Spain, as they refuse to 'reinforce' one of their principal competitors.
The Croatian has been no stranger to transfer speculation in recent seasons, but finds his future more uncertain than ever after making just one start in all competitions this season.
With La Blaugrana seemingly flying without him in the starting XI, winning eight straight matches in all competitions and surging to the top of La Liga despite a questionable start, they are believed to be willing to listen to offers between €25-30m for their formerly instrumental playmaker - but not from just anyone, it seems.
After Marca reported that Atlético had 'contacted' Barcelona chiefs over a move for Rakitić, having tried to secure his services twice before he moved to the Catalan giants, a further report from Mundo Deportivo claims that approach will not be considered by the Spanish champions.
That's because they recognise Rakitić's influential ability, and would rather keep the 31-year-old on the fringes of their side than sell to a direct rival, where he could play a part in unseating them from their throne as Spanish champions.
Regardless of Atléti's interest being thrown out, however, it still seems increasingly likely that he will leave. Last month, he spoke openly about his future, opening up on his desire to get back to playing football even if it means leaving Barça.
And in that vein, he is likely to have no shortage of offers. His relatively low price tag means Manchester United and Juventus continue to monitor the situation, but the most likely destination remains Inter, who are reported to have 'held talks' over a potential move.
The Italian side haven't yet reached an agreement, but feel they will be able to do so in the two months prior to the January transfer window opening for business.