It is in the nature of fans of the top football clubs to cast envious eyes on the best players plying their trade elsewhere.
PSG's Marco Verratti is one such name—he has swiftly become a highly sought-after talent having greatly impressed for the French side this season.
The 20-year-old is a regular starter for the French version of the Galacticos, running the midfield alongside the more defensive-minded and physical Blaise Matuidi.
Verratti likes to model himself on Italian great Andrea Pirlo, but the youngster is naturally more agile than his international teammate.
He is a deeper-lying playmaker who is almost certain to develop into an elite player in the position within the next five years.
But would he suit Manchester United? Or, to look at it another way, would it be in Manchester United's interest to make a move for the Italian?
This article will seek to answer both questions.
What do United Need?
With summer fast approaching, questions regarding Manchester United's approach to potential acquisitions will naturally be asked.
Assuming that Wayne Rooney will stay at Old Trafford—and let's face it, why wouldn't he?—the consensus seems to be that the side is in greatest need of a physical box-to-box midfielder.
Kevin Strootman, Victor Wanyama and Lars Bender are potential buys, each as technically adept as they are imposing.
Michael Carrick has perhaps had his best season in a red shirt to date, but alongside the likes of Tom Cleverley, Anderson or Ryan Giggs, is susceptible in the face of a team willing to assert pressure higher up the pitch.
The Carrick and Cleverley combination may work efficiently and productively against most teams, but it is hardly a partnership that strikes fear into the hearts of opponents.
The progress of Shinji Kagawa at United has been gradual, but if boss Sir Alex Ferguson is to be believed, next season could be when we see the best of the Japan international (via Scotsman.com).
"I think you’ll see a really good player next year," he said following Kagawa's recent hat-trick against Norwich City.
If this is to be the case, the Red Devils can sleep easy with their options in the trequartista role, with Rooney also close to making the position his own.
What Kind of Player is Verratti?
Marco Verratti made his debut for Pescara at the tender age of 16, fast-tracked as an attacking midfielder from the youth setup due to his evident potential.
While he wasn't ultimately selected, Verratti even made the Italian preliminary squad for Euro 2012, despite having played his football in Serie B the season before.
He is now a deeper-lying playmaker capable of pulling the strings at the heart of his team's midfield.
Though he is perfectly capable of turning an opponent or two with a quick drop of the shoulder and sharp turn, it his distribution to the more attacking players in front of him that is his most impressive attribute.
Verratti has a terrific passing range and a technique that belies his young age. The term "skillful" barely does him credit.
While in possession he is poised and extremely difficult to shrug off the ball—this despite his apparent lack of physicality.
He has a tendency to drop very deep, but his off-ball awareness and fine sense of positioning sees him consistently available to receive the ball from teammates.
His ability to create and utilise space almost reminds one of Paul Scholes.
On the back foot he is a surprisingly adept tackler, though has a slightly worrying tendency to throw himself into unnecessary challenges and pick up bookings—again a trait to similar to Scholes.
If he were to come to Old Trafford, there might be the temptation to try to develop his upper-body mass and strength, but this could potentially jeopardise his agility and attacking instincts.
In aerial situations he is weak, though the same can be said for just about every central midfielder currently on United's books.
How Would He Figure at United?
Assuming Sir Alex sticks with the now standard 4-2-3-1 formation, it would seem natural for Verratti to slot in alongside Michael Carrick in holding midfield.
But were he to one day join United, I rather see him replacing the 31-year-old and playing tiki-taka passing football with Cleverley in the middle.
Verratti would find a home just in front of the back line, while Cleverley would be the freewheeling partner who is prepared to venture further forward.
There would be issues regarding his settling in Manchester—Verratti currently struggles to speak two words of English.
The player himself recently admitted that Serie A held the most attraction for him further down the track (via Football Italia).
"My dream is to play in Serie A," he revealed in February.
In terms of tangible transfer reports, there is little evidence to suggest that Sir Alex could make a move for Verratti this summer.
A week ago there was a rumor circulating the tabloids that United were tracking the Italian, but his agent moved to quash such speculation less than 24 hours later.
"Marco is in Paris, I do not think you can move this summer," he stated (via the Express).
Verratti has yet to play a full season in Paris too and is unlikely to turn his back on the club having had such a successful campaign.
Of course nothing is written regarding the future—he could very well one day line up in a red shirt alongside United's best.
If his performances have suggested anything, it's that the Red Devils would be lucky to have such a talent in their ranks.
What do you make of Marco Verratti? Should Sir Alex be pursuing the 20-year-old a lot more rigorously?
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