Barcelona are reportedly "wasting time" in their pursuit of Marco Verratti, with the player said to be ready to stay at Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
According to Albert Masnou of Sport, there is no fear from the French club over losing their Italian midfielder in the coming weeks despite interest from the Blaugrana.
In the piece, sources close to the player suggest "Barcelona are wasting time and energy on Verratti." The La Liga side's previous interest in Thiago Silva and Marquinhos is also noted, with the same source adding "the [Verratti] story will have the same ending."
As relayed by Sport Witness, it's been suggested in sections of the Spanish press that Verratti is being kept at PSG despite his wishes:
For Barcelona, PSG refusing to do business would be a blow, as the 24-year-old has the qualities to resolve a lot of their issues.
After all, for a team who are usually strong in the middle of the park, there were times last season when opponents trampled all over the Blaugrana in that area of the pitch. Andres Iniesta is still a fine player but is becoming injury-prone, while Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Andre Gomes had inconsistent seasons.
As noted by Greg Johnson of Squawka Football, in letting Thiago Alcantara join Bayern Munich in 2013, the Blaugrana look to have let slip a long-term successor to Xavi and Iniesta:
With few prospects thrusting their way into contention from La Masia—Carles Alena, 19, is a talent but not quite ready yet—it means Barcelona will need to purchase a player capable of adding some class in central midfield.
Verratti seems like the most natural choice. The former Pescara man is one of the most savvy midfield operators in world football, able to take the ball in tight positions, manufacture space and find a telling pass.
They are qualities Barcelona need. While the side does utilise a more direct playing style with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar up top, against the vast majority of opponents, the team have a lot of the ball and need to unlock deep-sitting defences. Verratti would help that process.
One of that attacking trio, Neymar, suggested recently the Italian would be a fine signing for the Catalan giants:
PSG's reluctance to entertain any offers for the player would be both admirable and understandable. Verratti, after all, is arguably the team's most important cog and a man the Ligue 1 side's recruiters would find most difficult to replace. If they want to build, he needs to stay.
Barcelona look as though they are going to have to chase other options this summer as a result. But it's difficult to think of another player in world football who is a better stylistic fit for the Blaugrana than Verratti.