Chelsea have the upper hand over Manchester United and Liverpool in the race for Sevilla's Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Reports in Croatia suggest that Chelsea and United have been alerted to the impact Rakitic is having in La Liga this season and hope to bring him to the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Liverpool were linked with the 25-year-old over the summer after reports emerged that Rakitic was unsettled following the departures of Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo who both joined Manchester City as well as Geoffrey Kondogbia and Gary Medel, who joined Cardiff.

However, the player sales brought in over £58m and Sevilla boss Jose Maria Del Nido wants to use the money to tie Rakitic to a new deal that will keep him at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium until at least 2017.

The player has always stated his desire to remain in Spain, with his wife hailing from Andalusia and his daughter born in his adopted home town, but the interest of Chelsea, United and Liverpool could force a change of heart.

According to Croatian publication Jutarnji, Chelsea holds the greatest appeal for Rakitic, who they claim has been the fourth best player in Spain this season behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.