Barcelona is weighing a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti in 2016, Goal Spainreports.
The Italian was the first player recommended to the Barca board by transfer chief Ariedo Braida upon the 69-year-old’s appointment last year and the Catalan club has continued monitoring the midfielder ever since.
Presidential candidate Agusti Benedito said he has spoken to the player’s agent and acknowledged he hoped the 22-year-old would move to Camp Nou this summer, but former club chief Josep Maria Bartomeu was elected instead after signing Atletico Madrid midfielder Arda Turan.
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PSG has said that Verratti is not for sale at any price, but sources in France believe a bid of around 50 million euros ($55 million) could land the midfielder next summer.
"I have always liked Marco’s playing style," coach Luis Enrique said in April. "He is a player who could fit in at Barcelona."
And the admiration is mutual as Verratti told Goal: "Barcelona are one of the strongest clubs in the world and have been for a long time. It is always flattering for a player when such a big club is interested in you. It is up to the people at Barcelona to decide. But it is true that I like their style."
With Xavi now departed, Andres Iniesta turning 32 years old in May and Turan turning 29 in January, Barca is still looking for a younger player to boost its midfield, and Verratti fits the bill.
The former Pescara star has also interested Real Madrid, but he has been put off by the club’s treatment of his former PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti. The relationship with Braida plus his healthy respect for Barca means he would favor a move to the Catalan club next summer.
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