Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos has officially confirmed Barcelona are interested in the Brazilian centre-back, and the Blaugrana would be wise to deal for the youngster.
Marquinhos told TV3 he was flattered by the interest from the Catalan giants, but he emphasised that his current club will decide his future, as reported by Goal.com's Joe Wright.
"Barcelona are a great team. I'm going to wait and see what PSG will decide," Marquinhos said.
"This interest proves to me that I've made some good performances, but I have yet to prove many things."
The French champions are on the verge of acquiring compatriot David Luiz from Chelsea for a record-breaking fee of €49 million, as confirmed by the player himself:
Tks CFC for this time of great partnership. I'm thankful for all! It's a new challenge and together we ll go even further. Allez Paris!— David Luiz (@DavidLuiz_4) May 24, 2014
Recent punishments for violations of Financial Fair Play, via ESPN FC, mean PSG will most likely be forced into selling several of their assets, and the arrival of Luiz has made Marquinhos somewhat expendable.
The 20-year-old arrived in Paris for a reported fee of €35 million last season following a sensational breakout campaign with AS Roma, but his first season in the French capital wasn't filled with consistent playing time.
Per WhoScored.com, Marquinhos was only given 17 starts in the Ligue 1, with six more added in the UEFA Champions League.
His lack of consistent playing time has little to do with the player's talent, however. PSG are backed by some of the world's most powerful owners, and patience is not one of the club's strongest virtues.
The club doesn't concern itself too much with talent development—immediate production is what the owners and the fans want, and it's why they'll pay €40 million for Luiz, a fee unheard of for a defender.
Marquinhos is an incredibly talented player, but his talent needs to be nurtured. He has vision well beyond his years, displays tremendous patience when engaging the attacker and has all the athletic tools needed to succeed at the highest level, as this header will tell you:
He's not a finished product, and it's why he will be available for transfer.
There are few clubs in world football better at developing players than Barcelona, and the Blaugrana have a hole in the centre of their defence following the retirement of club legend Carles Puyol.
Should Barcelona move for Marquinhos?
Gerard Pique is an excellent defender, but his play has somewhat regressed in the last two years. Javier Mascherano isn't a natural fit at centre-back, and while Marc Bartra has a lot of potential, his ceiling isn't anywhere near that of Marquinhos.
The Brazilian already has the ability to be a starter for the Blaugrana, but it's his world-class potential that should convince the club to push for a deal.
While PSG may not have had the patience to see what the youngster can do, it's important to remember Marquinhos was arguably the top defender in Serie A two years ago. In a league that features Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Mehdi Benatia, that's saying something.
Via Bleacher Report's Jonathan Johnson, Globo Esporte has learned the Blaugrana disagree with PSG's valuation of the player:
Giving up €30 million and Dani Alves for a single player would be too much, but the FFP sanctions will see that asking price drop in the coming months. Take Alves out of the equation, and you end up with a fair price for one of the world's most promising defenders.
Brazil's future at the centre-back position looks very bright (don't forget about Botafogo's Doria, who is all but ready to move to Europe), and Marquinhos looks like he could be the leader of the national team's back line in just a few years.
Barcelona shouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on a move for the youngster, who would present the club with the perfect replacement for the iconic Puyol.