Barcelona were spoiled for so long in the midfield with Xavi and Iniesta. They understood everything about the club and were true world class performers, so it was always going to be tough to find anyone who could directly replace them.
Sergio Busquets has been a constant presence to anchor the midfield, but the two players in front of him never seem to get settled. Ivan Rakitic was consistent but his time looks to have passed, while Arthur, Alena, Vidal and Frenkie de Jong are all decent, but nobody has managed to live up to Xavi or Iniesta’s standards.
READ MORE: Talks held: Barcelona look to sign defender as his club sideline him over contract situation
There has been a longstanding link between Barca and Marco Verratti. There were even some suggestions from an ESPN report that PSG only made the move to sign Neymar as an act of revenge over Barca’s pursuit of the Italian midfielder.
Verratti would certainly add an experienced and proven world class presence in that Barca midfield, but that now looks highly unlikely.
According to RMC via Football Espana, The Italian has signed an extended contract at PSG which will see him stay in France until at least 2024. When you consider how much money PSG have behind them, then unless there’s a release clause it’s hard to see a situation where PSG would be willing to sell him.
There is also a suggestion from Football Italia that his new deal could see him earn €17m per season:
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) October 30, 2019
The report also goes on to discuss how Verratti has been a long term target for Barcelona and how previous approaches haven’t worked out. The new contract ties him to PSG into his 30’s, so it’s fairly safe to assume he wont become a Barca player after this.