Barcelona line-up clever move for £80m Premier League pair: Man United star & Wing Wizard on Nou Camp shopping list
Reports in Spain are suggesting Barcelona could utilise the money earmarked for Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti to lure two Premier League stars to the Camp Nou.
It has been said numerous times over the past few weeks and months that new Barça boss Ernesto Valverde’s main transfer target is Italian midfielder Verratti, as the Blaugrana search for an heir to 33-year-old Andres Iniesta, who has not yet penned a new contract, just a year ahead of his old one expiring.
Verratti, who has been in France since 2012, has flirted with the PSG exit door but has not closed the door on staying either. Barcelona are beginning to look elsewhere, with Catalan news outlet Sport suggesting Manchester United’s Ander Herrera and Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez are in their sights.
Herrera would likely be a cheaper alternative to signing Verratti, while Mahrez would offer strong competition for the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar in attack. The former’s place at United is reportedly under threat with Jose Mourinho intent on signing another midfielder, while the latter has made it clear to Leicester that he would like to leave the club this summer.
Arsenal have made Riyad Mahrez a 4-year contract offer & the player is keen to join having given up on waiting for Barcelona. [Diario Sport] pic.twitter.com/d258GoY70H— Arsenal TSN (@ArsenalTSN) 26 June 2017
Many expected Mahrez to follow the example of former teammate N’Golo Kante in leaving the Foxes directly after their amazing Premier League title win in 2015/16, especially considering the Algerian was voted PFA Player of the Year. But he opted to stay, and while the sacking of boss Claudio Ranieri and a constant battle with relegation made it a tough season, Mahrez continued to perform in helping them to the Champions League quarter finals.
But there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Barcelona right now, not least because of Iniesta and Messi having one more year on their current contracts. Valverde has not yet made a huge impression since replacing Luis Enrique, and the pressure will certainly be on him to wrestle the LaLiga title back from Real Madrid and compete in the Champions League.
Verratti, though, will remain their primary target. He is seen by many as the ideal man to step into Iniesta’s boots in the long term, but would likely cost around £80million to sign his summer. Plus, the likes of Inter and Juventus in his homeland, as well as Bayern Munich and Chelsea, are also said to be keen on signing the player so there could be a real saga developing already this summer.