Barcelona are reportedly keeping a close eye on Rennes playmaker Lovro Majer.
The 24-year-old arrived at Roazhon Park in a £10.8m deal from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer of 2021 and enjoyed a fine debut campaign under Bruno Genesio.
Majer came up with six goals and eight assists in 29 Ligue 1 outings for Les Rouges et Noir last term, playing either in the middle of the park, on the left or as a number 10.
The Croatia international has opened the 2022-23 season with one goal and two assists from eight games in all tournaments, taking his total for the club to seven goals and 11 assists in 44 outings.
Majer is yet to complete the full 90 minutes in Ligue 1 this term, but he starred against Fenerbahce in the Europa League last week, scoring and assisting in a 2-2 draw in Group B.
Rennes have Majer under contract until the summer of 2026, and the midfielder is starting to enjoy regular action for the Croatian national team thanks to his strong club form.
According to French outlet Foot Mercato – via Sport – Barcelona have been keeping tabs on Majer’s situation, with the 24-year-old dubbed ‘the next Luka Modric‘.
Xavi‘s side were supposedly interested in signing the Rennes man during the most recent transfer window, but they will face stiff competition to land his signature.
Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are also understood to be keen on a move for Majer, and his contract situation means that Rennes are under no pressure to sell him on the cheap.
The report adds that it would take a fee of €60m (£52.3m) for Les Rouges et Noir to consider parting ways with Majer, who would become their most expensive departure of all time if such a deal came to fruition.
Nevertheless, Majer is said to be ready to take the next step in his career, and Barcelona are expected to prioritise midfield additions in 2023 given Sergio Busquets‘s age and contract situation.
Despite Majer operating primarily as a playmaker, Barcelona are said to view the Croatian as an ideal successor to Busquets, who is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.
The 34-year-old is expected to see out the final few months of his Camp Nou deal before deciding on his next career move, and a switch to MLS has been mooted, with Inter Miami credited with an interest.
Barcelona are also rumoured to view Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves and Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi as possible replacements for Busquets, but Xavi is able to call upon Franck Kessie and Frenkie de Jong.
With teenage starlets Gavi and Pedri nailing down starting spots, Kessie has only made the first XI on one occasion in La Liga this term, while De Jong has started three of his side’s six league matches.