On a list of potential midfield signings to make Chelsea ready for next season’s Champions League campaign, the name Marco Verratti is probably at or at least very near the top — certainly since his former national team coach Antonio Conte arrived on the scene.
The 24-year-old Verratti has developed into one of Europe’s premier players since Carlo Ancelotti plucked him out of Serie B Pescara in 2012 and has accordingly attracted plenty of interest from the biggest teams in Europe. PSG are a big team as well of course and are aiming even higher, and while they’re somehow not at the top of their domestic league at the moment, their ambitions were confirmed with an absolute pasting of Barcelona this week in the Round of 16. PSG won Tuesday’s first leg 4-0 and it was nothing if not a fair reflection of the balance of play on the pitch.
Verratti was central to that performance, just as he’s been central to everything PSG have done over the past four seasons. But as easy as they’ve had in Ligue 1, success in Europe has been harder to find. And it was those ambitions upon which the Verratti rumors were built over the past 6-7 months. Trouble is, now that they’re suddenly one of the favorites for the Champions League, Verratti sounds quite sold on the “project”.
“I'm pleased to attract interest from the big clubs, but I don't want to change. I am part of a great project and we want to become one of the top three in Europe."
-Marco Verratti; source: Mediaset via Inside Futbol
Marco’s ambitions have been made clear multiple times by his agent, including just before Tuesday’s game, and the summer sales of Ibrahimovic and David Luiz only added to the general feeling that he could in fact leave PSG even though he had just signed a new five-year contract good until 2021. Tuesday’s result however could be just the thing to propel PSG towards their ultimate goal, and Verratti towards staying put for sure.