Published on June 29th, 2017 | by Vieri Capretta1
PSG v Barcelona: the battle for the future of Marco Verratti
Marco Verratti is following in the footsteps of Paul Pogba in being this year’s big summer transfer story with PSG and Barcelona fighting for his future
It is set to be one of the big transfer stories of the summer in European football. Marco Verratti has made it clear: he wants to leave Paris Saint Germain to join Barcelona. Who wouldn’t love to have him, just without spending too much. But the story is putting the player in an awkward position, considering that PSG have absolutely no intention of letting the Italian midfielder go.
Bought for 15 million euros in 2012, Verratti joined PSG directly from Serie B club Pescara, just after getting promoted to the Italian top-flight. The footballer has never played in Serie A, but what he had done in the second tier was clearly enough to raise eyebrows across Europe and be contacted by the Parisians. Tough luck for all the Italian clubs who could have gotten him for what now looks like a pittance.
In five seasons, Verratti’s value has gone up at least five times, as at the age of only 24 the PSG man has already won four Ligue 1 titles. He reminds many of Andres Iniesta, also for his physical appearance and height, and for the quality he has. No wonder Barcelona want him to be the heir for the number eight position. Verratti’s best game was probably at the Nou Camp too, in the 2012-213 Champions League, where PSG were knocked out only because of the away goals rule.
Marco Verratti has been caught smoking.
He might be on holidays, but @PSG_English won't be happy with this.
— MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) June 23, 2017
For many, Verratti is Italy’s current number ten. Nobody has his quality, apart from Lorenzo Insigne, and no one has his experience on a European scale, bar the older players like Gianluigi Buffon or Leonardo Bonucci. Everyone in Italy wants the footballer to develop into the new face of the Azzurri.
Verratti has struggled to impose himself consistently though, alternating between perfect games to black-outs. The PSG man’s position doesn’t help, though. He clearly isn’t a holding midfielder, nor is he a number ten. Finding out his exact role will be the final step into the footballer becoming a fantastic midfielder.
Because this is Verratti, nobody doubts his qualities, least of all PSG or Barcelona. It’s looking like the two clubs will be battling it for the footballer’s signature throughout the summer. Verratti has reportedly said he wants to join Barcelona, PSG have told him they have no intention of selling him but need to convince him to stay and build an even stronger team. Barcelona reportedly don’t want to spend 75 million euros on a midfielder, but would probably be ready to if other options ran out.
All of these ingredients could create an explosive recipe to give us a lovely story to follow for the whole summer – something along the lines of the Paul Pogba to Manchester United one. With a young, impressive midfielder, going from one big club to another.
It is only fair to say that a move to La Liga would be a step up, going into one of the best clubs in the world and having the opportunity of taking over the role of the best midfielder of the past decade: Iniesta. His will to join Barcelona is understandable, to say the least.
But anything can happen. PSG are ready to spend big to convince Verratti to commit to the Parisian side, whilst Barcelona are searching for a quality midfielder. For the neutrals, it is a good chance to enjoy another summer transfer story.