The Croatia international has been linked with a move away from Barcelona for weeks to make way for the incoming Frenkie de Jong, who has signed in a big money deal from Ajax.
And with the other two starting midfield spots already occupied by Arthur Melo and Sergio Busquets, playing time is looking like becoming increasingly unlikely in future.
The arrival of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid could also lead to a tactical reshuffle for the Spanish champions.
Rakitic, 31, has enjoyed huge success in his five seasons at the Nou Camp, winning the Champions League and multiple La Liga crowns.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may see him as the perfect type of player that he wants to bring in to Old Trafford.
United are on the lookout for midfielders and should Paul Pogba also depart in the coming weeks, filling the position would become even more imperative.
The Red Devils have also been linked with Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes and Newcastle star Sean Longstaff but both deals are dragging on longer than anticipated.
Solskjaer is reported to have identified Rakitic, who has two years remaining on his current contract, as an alternative target.
“New players are coming and he will have to earn it”
“Rakitic has been an important player, I don’t know if it will be this season,” he said.
“New players are coming and he will have to earn it.”
Rakitic insisted recently that he wanted to remain at Barcelona amid speculation about his future.
“My idea is very clear, I want to stay at Barca,” he said. “It is a situation I’m used to. It happened to me last year.
“I’ve spoken with the club and the coach and we have the same idea, for me to stay at Barca.
“We’re open to everything, as always, but my intention is to stay. I have two more years on my contract and I want to keep enjoying myself at Barca.
“It doesn’t annoy me. I know that football works like this and it makes me proud because if other teams want me it’s because I’m doing things very well. I’m calm.”