Ernesto Valverde 'counting on' Ivan Rakitic amid reports of €90m PSG bid

BARCELONA -- Ernesto Valverde warned Barcelona against selling Ivan Rakitic in the final week of the transfer window amid reports Paris Saint-Germain will offer €90 million for the midfielder.

Rakitic, 30, has been an ever-present contributor under both Valverde and Luis Enrique since joining the La Liga champions from Sevilla in 2014.

However, Diario Sport have claimed the Croatia international is considering a double-your-wages offer from PSG, adding that Barca could be tempted to cash in given the money on offer.

"Ivan is a fundamental player for our team and I am counting on him," Valverde said in a news conference on Friday, when asked if Rakitic could leave Camp Nou.

"His statistics are there for everyone to see. Look at the importance he had in the team last year. It's understandable that other teams might want our players, but I hope he continues here."

Pressed on the idea that selling Rakitic would represent good business, given he is now into his 30s and was signed for just €18m, Valverde made it quite clear that he did not agree with that assessment.

He added: "I want to have the best players possible for the season. And Ivan is one of them. He knows how we play, he's heavily involved with the team and with the club.

"We're not here to do business [with our players], we're here to win and to keep making the trophy room even bigger."

The transfer window has already shut in England and Italy, coinciding with the start of the Premier League and Serie A earlier this month, but it remains open until Aug. 31 in Spain.

Valverde has become increasingly frustrated with the continued transfer stories in the media since La Liga started last weekend and he hopes that Spain will follow England and Italy's lead next year.

"In the long-term, the normal thing to do would be what the Premier League has done: to close the transfer window before the season starts," the coach said.

"It's absurd that a player can play for one team one day and another the next. I suppose it will change in the future. Two leagues have already done it, in England and in Italy, and I hope the same happens here."

Valverde was speaking ahead of Barca's second game of the new season, away at newly promoted Real Valladolid, who have had a new grass surface laid at their Jose Zorrilla home this week.

"I'm more concerned about the opponents themselves but I am not going to deny it's something which is on my mind," Valverde said over concerns about the state of the pitch for Saturday's game.

"It's not normal to lay the grass and then play just four days later. The grass feels the effects. I know from experience. Players can slip and slide, but I don't want to think the worst."

Valverde has some sympathy for Valladolid given the heat in Spain this summer has led to pitch problems for a number of teams, including Barca, with the surface at Camp Nou called into question after an opening day 3-0 win over Alaves last weekend.

"It's true it wasn't in its best moment the other day," he confirmed. "We're coming off a month of a lot of heat and it's also caused problems with the pitches at the training ground.

"We have had to change the pitch we are training on. I hope that things normalise, though, and that the Camp Nou pitch gets better."