Arsenal Transfer News: Marco Verratti a Must-Sign Target for Gunners

Tristan BarclayContributor IApril 8, 2014

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 05: Marco Verratti of PSG in action during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint Germain and RSC Anderlecht at Parc des Princes on November 5, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
Harry Engels/Getty Images

Arsenal are looking to strengthen their midfield resources with a summer move for Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti, according to Liam Prenderville of the Mirror.

The Gunners are understood to be tracking the 21-year-old after seeing their midfield decimated this season by injuries to key men, such as Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, per the club's official website.

The once-notoriously frugal Arsene Wenger will have to spend up to £17 million to prise Verratti from the French giants, according to the Metro. However, after last season's £42 million signing of Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil, Arsenal are unlikely to balk at Verratti's price tag.

The young Italian has been a key player for PSG this year, making four assists in Ligue 1 as the Paris club march toward what will likely be a second consecutive domestic title, per Verratti has managed to keep January signing Yohan Cabaye out of Laurent Blanc's starting line-up, so the midfielder is certainly hot property in European football.

Verratti is in no rush to leave the French champions. After joining in 2012 on a five-year contract, he signed a further one-year extension to keep him at the Parc des Princes until 2018, according to PSG's official website.

You would be hard-pressed to call Arsenal a step up from PSG in terms of quality at the moment. Verratti has not spoken of a desire to move to the Premier League, and it would be difficult to argue that he has a better chance of winning the Champions League with the Gunners than with PSG. It would take a big salary to snatch him from Blanc's squad.

However, Wenger is understood to be frustrated with the lack of strength in his midfield. Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla looked short of power when up against the front four of Everton during Sunday's 3-0 defeat by Everton.

The likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have shown this season that it is essential to team creativity in attack with steel in midfield if a club is to be successful in the Premier League. With that in mind, Verratti's ability to hold on to possession and then distribute it creatively is an asset that would improve Arsenal, whose fragile midfield is often overrun by more aggressive outfits.

With Wilshere, Walcott and Ramsey out injured, Wenger's men also look as though they could do with an injection of energy from someone unencumbered by the pressure of almost nine years without a trophy. Ozil has come under fire this year for failing to deliver performances that live up to his billing, so adding some dynamism to the squad could take the heat off the German next year. 

John Cross of the Mirror reports that Wenger's future is also in question, as the manager refuses to confirm whether he will sign a new contract with the North London club. Disquiet is growing among Gunners fans, so a big-name signing such as Verratti will send a clear signal that Arsenal are still committed to competing at the highest level.