Barcelona may rope in midfielder Verratti in 2016: Reports

Barcelona, Aug 17 (IANS) Spanish football heavyweights FC Barcelona will try and lure Italian midfielder Marco Verratti from French club Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) in 2016, according to reports.

Barcelona transfer chief Ariedo Braida recommended Verratti’s name to the club’s board last year and they have been monitoring him ever since, according to reports in goal.com on Monday.

Losing presidential candidate Agusti Benedito had said that he has had a word with the footballer’s agent and hoped the 22-year-old would come to the club in the current season. But those plans remain unfulfilled when administrator Josep Maria Bartomeu was elected as the new club president. Bartomeu signed midfielder Arda Turan from fellow Spanish rivals Atletico Madrid.

PSG have said that Verratti is not for sale at any price, but reports in France said a bid of around 50 million euros could land the midfielder next summer. Coach Luis Enrique has already expressed his admiration for the midfielder.

“I have always liked Marco’s playing style. He is a player who could fit in at Barcelona,” Enrique said in April.

And the admiration is mutual as Verratti said: “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.”

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