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Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly open to the idea of selling Marco Verratti, but Barcelona have turned down the chance to sign him.
According to AS, Verratti “has gone from untouchable to transferable” in recent weeks as the club no longer value him as highly following the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, and there’s also a perception that he lacks maturity.
His agent, Mino Raiola, is said to have offered him to Barca—who were prepared to spend €100 million on him last summer—but was told “no,” by the Catalan giants.
Verratti was sent off for dissent in the second leg of PSG’s defeat to Real Madrid in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, putting an end to their slim hopes of completing a comeback in the tie.
PSG boss Unai Emery dispelled the notion he is no longer considered a key player at the club, however, per Goal UK:
Goal UK @GoalUK
Verratti is still PSG’s ‘present and future’ despite his red card against Real Madrid https://t.co/hKqjYWTs8H
His comments came after Verratti laid on two goals in PSG’s 5-0 win over Metz on Saturday:
The Italian has come in for criticism after his sending off against Real, not only because it was an easily avoidable red card—he lost control of his emotions after the referee opted not to award him a free-kick—but also his performance.
Sports journalist Jonas Giaever was critical of the 25-year-old, who is in his sixth season at the Parc des Princes:
Jonas Giæver @CheGiaevara
The biggest problem with Marco Verratti is that his biggest flaws in his game five years ago, are still the biggest flaws in his game today. Stagnation.
His poor showing in the Champions League came just a year after he dominated proceedings in a 4-0 win over Barcelona in the same competition, though that also ended in disappointment after Les Parisiens collapsed in the second leg to lose 6-5 on aggregate.
The Blaugrana have long needed a player in Verratti’s mould; a midfielder who can dictate and control games from the centre of the park, as Xavi Hernandez did at the Camp Nou until his departure in 2015.
However, Barca have likely ended their interest in him not because of Verratti’s recent showing, but because they’ve managed to acquire a similar player elsewhere, per Grup 14’s Rafael Hernandez:
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117
Arthur is the kind of midfielder Barcelona needed since Xavi left 3 years ago. That’s all culés need to know. Robert Fernandez insisted on bringing him, a key signing for the future.
Despite concerns over his development and temperament, Verratti remains an excellent player who’s capable of reaching considerable heights.
Though PSG’s virtually unrivalled domestic dominance and European struggles perhaps make for an unbalanced platform on which to develop, the club would be wise to keep hold of him.
If they were open to moving him on, there would likely be no shortage of suitors, even if Barcelona will no longer be among them.