Bartomeu: Verratti wants Barcelona move

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti

Marco Verratti wants to join Barcelona, but Paris Saint-Germain have so far been unwilling to negotiate a sale, according to Josep Maria Bartomeu.

The Italy international has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou for weeks now, after reportedly growing frustrated with PSG’s inability to challenge for the Champions League.

Barca president Bartomeu says Verratti is ready to move to La Liga but believes the club’s hands are tied, given that the 24-year-old does not have a release clause in his contract, unlike star players in Spain.

“Clubs want to negotiate. Look at Verratti, for instance, a player we’re interested in signing, the coaches believe is good enough to play in Barca’s midfield,” Bartomeu told Mundo Deportivo.

“We know that the player would love to come to Barca, but when you call PSG and you talk with the president [Nasser Al-Khelaifi], he says that he’s not for sale and there is no release clause.

“As such, the president can decide if he feels like negotiating with us or not. In this sense, Spanish football is defenceless. Here, there are release clauses and there, there aren’t. And outsiders can come and pay and we can’t. So for now, we’ve not sat down with PSG, despite the player’s willingness to come to Barca. We must accept it.

“We had it before with Cesc [Fabregas], when Arsenal did not want to hold talks with us for a year. They told us by letter and we had to accept it.

“If Verratti had a clause, we could go for him. There is no formula. If you don’t want to sell something…

“The player has said that he wants to leave, but PSG tell him he’ll be able to go only when his contract ends.”

Verratti’s agent, Donato Di Campli, has described PSG’s unwillingness to part with one of their top players as a matter of “pride”.

“We are and always will be grateful for what PSG have given to us and still give us,” he told Corriere dello Sport.

“Marco knows perfectly well what his contractual commitments are to PSG, but it’s normal to be flattered by Barcelona interest. Who wouldn’t be, at 24, in the season leading up to the World Cup?

“Do PSG finally want to build a team that is not content to win only Ligue 1 or the Coupe de France? There’s a lot of talk about [Kylian] Mbappe but, so far, new champions have not come to Paris.

“Then there’s the final point, which is the most important: it’s about Doha, which is home to, among others, the owners of PSG. Not giving up Verratti to Barca for €100-million has become a matter of pride.”