The agent of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti has dismissed suggestions he has held discussions with Barcelona about a possible move for his client.
According to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Italia), representatives for the Italy international met with Barcelona executives to negotiate a transfer for the summer. But Verratti's agent, Donato Di Campli, has denied that was the case.
"A meeting with Barcelona? It's not correct," he said, per Sport. "No, I only went to watch the Champions League game."
Di Campli added "on top of that, I will be going to Monte Carlo for the game between Juventus and Monaco" to save further rumours surfacing.
As noted in the report, Barcelona have long been linked with the PSG star. Here's why so many consider him among the best midfield operators in the game:
Speculation over a possible exit has been fuelled this season due to the midfield struggles of the Blaugrana. Andres Iniesta continues to suffer with injury knocks, Sergio Busquets has not found his best form, while Ivan Rakitic, Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez haven't wholly convinced either.
Verratti, meanwhile, continues to go from strength to strength in the French capital and is the kind of playmaker who would make a huge difference at the Camp Nou if the move was to happen.
David Cartlidge of beIN Sports feels as though the Italian would help eradicate plenty of Barca's problems in this area of the field:
David Cartlidge @davidjaca
@muhammadbutt Verratti really is the one. I know Xavi keeps saying it but he's perfect to come in and divert current problems in midfield.4/12/2017, 10:05:40 AM
The issue for Barcelona would be convincing PSG to sell. The French champions have ambitions to challenge for the UEFA Champions League themselves and are seeking to build a team capable of doing so. Losing their midfield linchpin would be a massive setback in their progression.
It means Barcelona would have to part with an extraordinary amount of money to get this one done. Given the problems the team are having in the middle third of the pitch, they may not have a choice.
Jordi Alba Not for Sale
According to Sport, Barcelona will not cash in on Jordi Alba this summer despite talk of a potential exit.
The report suggested Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Valencia have all been tipped as possible suitors for the left-back, who was left on the bench for a spell recently when the Blaugrana utilised a 3-4-3 system.
"However, Barca wanted to cut off those stories at the roots, killing the speculation and confirming that they have no intention of selling Alba or including him in any potential deal," Sport noted.
That's not a great surprise, as the Spain international has been key to Barcelona's success in recent seasons. Indeed, as noted by Radio City's David Downie during the recent 3-2 win over Real Madrid, Alba offers an incomparable thrust going forward:
David Downie @daviddownie17
The run and determination from Jordi Alba is insane. #ElClasico #Messi4/23/2017, 8:58:48 PM
The 28-year-old is inconsistent at times, meaning he's often maligned by Blaugrana supporters. But his ability to surge into the final third, recover position and link up with Neymar makes him a key man.
Following on from his recent stint out of the team, Alba has started all of Barcelona's last three matches and performed well in the brilliant Clasico victory. If he were to move on this summer, it would be tough to find another left-back capable of replicating his influence.