We want Marco Verratti in FC Barcelona
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Barcelona have often been castigated for their lack of nous in the transfer market but sitting atop the European tree has afforded the club some leeway. Not anymore.
Marco Verratti to Barcelona promises to be one of the transfer soap operas of the summer unless the player himself digs his heels in and forces Paris Saint-Germain’s hand.
The French club’s representatives met with Verratti’s agent in Milan on Monday expecting to thrash out another contract extension.
Instead, they were met with the news that the 24-year-old wants to leave in order to sign for the Catalans, a request that was immediately denied.
It's being reported that the Blaugrana are willing to pay between €100m to land their prime target, and it’s not often that they don’t get what they want. However, money is the one commodity PSG aren’t short of.
Understandably, Barca are keen to quickly secure Verratti’s services. Often compared to Xavi, the Italian does have some way to go yet to emulate his contemporary but the comparisons aren't completely without foundation.
Both are of similar stature and have an ability to find time and space in even the most congested midfield areas.
Laser-guided passing comes as standard, be they short or cross field, and Verratti also possesses the dynamism, energy and work ethic that Barca’s midfield have sorely missed in the last 12-18 months.
Still some way short of his peak years, there’s a cogent argument that the Italian will get even better in years to come, which is a frightening prospect.
After being on the receiving end of that 6-1 Champions League hammering, it’s perfectly understandable too why the player wants to play alongside the standard of player, and indeed character, that can seemingly pull off the impossible.
Though his hire will provide much needed competition for places, were negotiations to prove successful, it shouldn't sound the death knell for Andres Iniesta’s Barcelona career.
El Ilusionista wasn't involved as much as he might like during 2016/17 but, as he proved against PSG, he still has much to offer. Just not as regularly as he used to.
Time waits for no man sadly.
Ernesto Valverde has it all to do in his debut season at the Camp Nou. A decent summer of transfer activity is therefore a pre-requisite.
Marco Verratti is the only Barcelona material who isn't playing for Barcelona. Verratti isn't just a priority, he’s a necessity.
- Jason Pettigrove
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