His rise has been as quick as it has been impressive. And new quotes from Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti suggest that Manchester United will have to find a new target when David Moyes looks to rebuild his midfield this summer.
As a shining light in the PSG midfield, the 21-year-old Italian has come a long way from his time in Serie B with lowly Pescara. Now he is one of the brightest young talents in Europe and his performances have helped take the French champions one step closer to the Champions League quarter-finals.
He has been constantly linked with a move away from Paris this season; with Juventus and Manchester United the most often cited suitors. Talk of a Juventus swap-deal involving Paul Pogba had been mentioned, but for the Italian midfielder, his future seems to be in the French capital.
"There is nothing that can make me leave PSG," he said. "I’m very comfortable both on and off the pitch. Not everyone has the opportunity to start with a great club like this one and grow and improve as a player.
"Next season I will still be in Paris, it’s not up to me but if it was my intention is to stay here”
Verratti was speaking to leading French sports newspaper L'Equipe, suggesting that he sees himself as a long term part of the PSG midfield. It all now depends whether Laurent Blanc and PSG's owners QSI think the same as the player.
Blanc signed Yohan Cabaye from Newcastle United in the January window, and has also shown interest in Pogba's availability. QSI are believed to want a stronger French presence in the squad. Cabaye was a typical example of what they want and Pogba could be the next step to PSG fielding an all-French midfield. This would help the French public identify with the team.
Alongside Blaise Matuidi, Cabaye and Pogba could star for both club and country for the next few years. Verratti may see his future at PSG; it may just be that his face no longer fits. That is when Juventus and United may consider making a move for the tenacious midfielder.
images: © jeanfrancois beausejour,