Barcelona have reportedly met with Marco Verratti's camp twice in the past two months to discuss a potential move from Paris Saint-Germain.
According to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Italia), Blaugrana executives met with Donato Di Campli, Verratti's agent, when Barca beat PSG 6-1 in the UEFA Champions League in March and again when they hosted Juventus earlier in April.
Verratti was said to be "very excited" about the negotiations.
The Italian has seemingly "grown tired" of PSG's lack of success in Europe's premier competition and believes joining Barca would be a "quantum, important and decisive leap" in his career.
Per Sport Witness, the story made Mundo Deportivo's cover:
Sport Witness @Sport_Witness
Mundo Deportivo say Barcelona have spoken to Verratti's agent, and the player would be very excited about the potential transfer. https://t.co/fgmtViE3PG2017-4-28 09:37:12
Barcelona have yet to adequately replace Xavi Hernandez in midfield, and while he's of a different mould, Andre Gomes has struggled for form this season, calling into question his ability to hold down a long-term place.
Further, Andres Iniesta will be 33 in May, which enhances Barca's need for quality in the centre even more.
AS' Robbie Dunne and beIN Sports' Tancredi Palmeri commented on their struggles during Sunday's Clasico with Real Madrid:
Robbie Dunne @robbiejdunne
it will also be forgotten that for large spells, Barcelona looked like they didn't know what they were at in midfield.2017-4-23 20:53:31
Tancredi Palmeri @tancredipalmeri
Rarely in the history of contemporary Barcelona we have seen Barça so unable to control the ball. No midfield Real Madrid-Barcelona 0-0 17'.2017-4-23 19:04:28
Since Xavi's departure in 2015, the Blaugrana have struggled to exert control over their opponents in the same manner they once did, which has contributed to an overreliance on Lionel Messi and their other forwards.
Control is one such quality Verratti can provide. In a manner somewhat similar to Xavi, Verratti operates as a deep-lying playmaker who can dictate the tempo and flow of a game from the centre of the park.
He also has the technical skills to fit in well at the Camp Nou with his metronomic passing and ability to glide past players with neat footwork.
Barcelona would likely have to pay a premium to sign him from the Ligue 1 giants—even more so because of their status as Champions League rivals, per Mundo Deportivo—but he'd be an outstanding buy.
BeIN Sports' Matteo Bonetti and Bleacher Report UK's Adam Digby disagree on the Italian full-back:
Adam Digby @Adz77
@TheCalcioGuy I think that he's good & would look much better on a coherent team2017-4-25 12:13:55
Barcelona are in need of a new right-back, and the 24-year-old is comfortable there or on the opposite flank, where he has primarily been used this season.
There are likely better options out there for the Catalan giants, but he could be a useful signing if brought in at the right price.