Verratti, en un entrenamiento con el PSG

Operation Mbappe-Verratti-Rakitic

OPINION

Barcelona's attempt to sign Marco Verratti has not gone well. Paris Saint-Germain have refused to negotiate to the point that Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu has had to publicly recognise their reluctance to sit down and talk. The Italian's desire to play alongside Lionel Messi has served for nothing. The French club even obliged him to swear his eternal love for the club. But never say never in football. Never use the word impossible. There are secrets which are capable of turning around any negotiations. 

As of today, even though the transfer seems dead, there's still a chance Verratti ends up at Camp Nou. Only a small, complicated chance, but it is possible. It needs three things to fall in to place, featuring Monaco, PSG and Barcelona, involving Kylian Mbappe, Verratti and Ivan Rakitic. It would be a fantastical operation, one not easy to do, but with a chance of success if all three parties come out of it happy. A lot of money, patience and intelligence would be involved. Everything hinges on Mbappe, the teenager wanted by Real Madrid, PSG and Manchester City, and if he ends up in Paris, where they're prepared to pay 130 million euros. 

If PSG land Mbappe, they would have signed the most sought after player on the market. Only in that case would they consider reversing their stance on Verratti, who still hopes to move to a more competitive team. PSG coach Unai Emery is aware of the possibility and has added his own condition: he wants a replacement if the Italian leaves. And here is where Barça come into the game. PSG would want 100 million euros for Verratti -- or 70 plus Rakitic. 

Emery, in 2013-14, when he was Sevilla manager, worked with Rakitic. The Croatian was not only the captain of his Europa League winning side, but the star. So impressive was his form that he ended up moving to Barcelona for 18 million euros plus three million in variables. A player signed by Monchi from Schalke for only 1.5 million euros. 

That could be the chain of events which sees Verratti move to Camp Nou. PSG sign Mbappe for 130 million euros, recover 100 million of that by selling Verratti and invest a further 30 million on Rakitic. Barça, who would not pay 100 million for the 24-year-old, would pay 70 million and include Rakitic in the deal. The Croatian international, between remaining at Camp Nou as backup to Verratti or going to Paris and improving his contract, would surely prefer the second option. Everything depends on Monaco's Mbappe moving to PSG, though. From there, Verratti and Barça could still get what they want. 

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