Ivan Rakitic Barcelona
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic is reportedly looking at a move to the English Premier LeagueReuters

Manchester United and Manchester City are set to go head to head for the signature of Ivan Rakitic from Barcelona in the January transfer window.

Rakitic was bought as a replacement for Cesc Fabregas in the summer transfer window from Sevilla, but, according to the Daily Express, the Croatia international is already looking for a move away from the Camp Nou, with the English Premier League his preferred destination.

The midfielder made a cracking start to life at Barcelona, but that momentum has been quelled a little bit, with Xavi coming to his own in recent months.

Manchester United and Manchester City are both ready to take advantage of any possible discontent by making a move for Rakitic.

Louis Van Gaal has already made his intentions clear about landing Rakitic and has made a £20 million bid for Rakitic.

While Rakitic will undoubtedly add quality to Manchester United and City, it is unlikely that the 26-year-old will want to or indeed be allowed to move just after half a season with Barcelona.

Even if he has not been a natural starter in the side, Rakitic has made 11 appearances in the La Liga and four in the Champions League, picking up three goals and an assist in the process.

It usually does take a player not from the La Masia a little while to get settled completely at Barcelona, and Rakitic has shown more than enough to suggest that he could make the grade at the Camp Nou.

However, if reports of the player being unhappy turns out to be true, then a move can never be ruled out and Manchester United would certainly suit the eye-catching playmaker, who lit up the La Liga with his performances for Sevilla last season.

Rakitic can play as a playmaker in a deeper position or in the hole in behind, and the midfielder has the potential to bag tonnes of assists and goals.

While Manchester United have plenty of attack-minded midfielders in their team already, bringing in some one Rakitic's ilk will certainly boost their quality and confidence.

However, with the Croatian only making his move to Barcelona at the start of this season, and the team still in the Champions League – ironically they play Manchester City in the last 16 – it will take come convincing from Van Gaal to persuade Rakitic to forsake Champions League participation and move to Manchester United in January.