Barcelona want Verratti in 2016

The midfielder is top of the Catalans’ list of reinforcements once their transfer ban ends next year and they are planning a summer move

GOALBy Ignasi Oliva  

Barcelona are weighing up a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti in 2016, Goal understands.

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 have continued monitoring the midfielder ever since.

Presidential candidate Agusti Benedito revealed he had spoken to the player’s agent and admitted 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.

PSG have said that Verratti is not for sale at any price, but sources in France believe a bid of around €50 million could land the midfielder next summer and coach Luis Enrique said in April: “I have always liked Marco’s playing style. 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 [how I would fit in]. But it is true that I like their style.”

With Xavi now departed, Andres Iniesta turning 32 years old next May and Arda will be 29 years old in January, Barca are still looking for a younger player to boost their midfield and Verratti fits the bill.

The former Pescara star has also interested Real Madrid, but he has been put off by their treatment of his former PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti, while the relationship with Braida plus his healthy respect for Barca means he would favour a move to the Catalan club next summer.