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Tuesday July 10 2012
Au Revoir to Verratti?

With Marco Verratti on the verge of signing for PSG, Scott Fleming argues that there’s nothing romantic about a move to the city of love for the prodigiously talented teen.

From the serene seaside surroundings of Pescara to the bustling metropolis that is Paris. From playing in front of 13,000 – on a good day – at the Stadio Adriatico to playing in front of 42,000 at the Parc des Princes. From lower division football to the Champions League.

There's a certain Roy of the Rovers quality to Marco Verratti's pending transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. But there's nothing romantic about the 19-year-old's move to the city of love. When even the man who is working to make the deal happen, Verratti's agent Donato Di Campli, describes it as “a defeat for Italian football,” you know something's not quite right.

Four years ago Verratti was a 15-year-old debuting for his home town club down in Lega Pro Girone B, the southern section of Italian football's third tier. Now he is the most coveted young player in the country, thanks in large part to Zdenek Zeman, who converted the teen from a trequartista to a regista in his first training session as Pescara boss around about this time last year. Verratti went on to play an integral role in the club's promotion to Serie A, as the Dolphins surfed into the top flight on a wave of goals.

His surprise inclusion in Cesare Prandelli's preliminary Italy squad for Euro 2012 was both a validation of his blossoming talent, and the precursor to a feature length transfer saga, with Juventus, Napoli, PSG and various others all attempting to lure the petit playmaker away from the Adriatic coast during the last two months.

Now, it seems the Parisians have won the day, with Di Campli stating yesterday that “the boy intends to say yes to PSG,” and talk of a €13m fee whizzing its way from the deep coffers of the Qatar Investments Authority, who own the French club.

Nothing can be taken for granted of course, not in this saga. Only a few weeks ago Pescara announced that the player was “definitely off the market,” and a few weeks before that Di Campli was telling us “Verratti will certainly stay at Pescara for another year.” There are some suggestions in the Italian sports Press that the club were willing to accept PSG's bid last week, and it was Di Campli who put the brakes on the deal, from which it has been inferred that the boy is still holding out for a move to Juve, the team he grew up supporting.

But PSG are certainly in pole position, and it’s hard to put a positive spin on that. There can be few clubs in Europe for whom developing young players is less of a priority than PSG. They want success and they want it now, more desperately than ever after the embarrassment of losing last season's Ligue 1 title to little Montpellier, an outfit with a fraction of their budget.

The fact that Les Rouge et Bleu are coached by an Italian certainly helps – Carlo Ancelotti has said “Verratti could be the future of this club” – but Carletto's first choice midfield last season consisted mostly of combative types. In Paris, Verratti could find the path to progress blocked by Thiago Motta, Mathieu Bodmer and Momo Sissoko, bigger and older stronger players.

Verratti is by no means 'our only hope', Beppe Rossi and Fabio Borini have both proved a lack of game time at a big club early in your career isn't fatal, but his potential departure from Italian football would certainly be unsettling. And premature. He has never played, or indeed lived, anywhere but Pescara. He has only recently been integrated into the Italian under-21 set-up, making three Azzurrini appearances, sent off in the last of them against Ireland last month.

The proposed deal which would have saw the skinhead midfielder purchased by Juve, but left on loan at Pescara for a season, was quite probably the best solution for all concerned. It would have allowed Verratti to ease himself into top level football in a familiar environment, and allowed the Biancazzurri, who look weak after replacing Zeman and Ciro Immobile with Giovanni Stroppa and Elvis Abbruscato respectively, to retain a key protagonist in their promotion and someone who has symbolic value as a hometown boy.

Sadly President Daniele Sebastiani doesn't appear to agree, and given that his club were bankrupt less than four years ago, who can blame him. 

Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.

Have your say...
As Milan are selling Ibra and Silva it would be a good statement of intent if we signed Verratti this Summer.
on the 13th July, 2012 at 8:51am
10 or 12 million is a lot for a new player, but for example I think Roma pay 20 per Lamela, could have paid less for Verrati if they had done before
on the 11th July, 2012 at 4:04pm
The sad part is that now Juve fans will be hoping he fails in his time at PSG. Also, I doubt that he will see a national team call up for the next year or so. He will not get regular playing time with Pastore there, he will not be seen by Prandelli and hence will not be considered. Only a few proven players that play overseas are called - Balotelli and Rossi in particular. I think this kid just blew 2 -3 years playing a bit part. Too Bad.
on the 11th July, 2012 at 3:10pm
Pescara has some nerve trying to FORCE Juve to sign an unproven player when they already have a fixed budget to work with. From that budget we require a CF, not a potential prospect. I cant think of a single player thats been labelled, 'the next xxx' and actually delivered. Juve be smart, hes a Juve fan boy after all. When Juve hit full speed and get more respect in Europe its a matter of time before he comes home. And anyway, Juve are investing in youth as it is! More so than ever.
on the 11th July, 2012 at 9:01am
the most worrying thing about this whole scenario is the kid's agent. He has over-inflated his price (based on a good season in an inferior league) and Italian clubs rightly haven't taken the bait. so now the self-serving agent is taking a swipe at Serie A for having no faith in him. but i agree with them, the clubs are right to refuse that amount for a talented but unproven kid. Half the price would just about be acceptable.
on the 11th July, 2012 at 8:15am
Its a shame that no top Italian team is willing to take him on. Euro 2012 could well have ben Pirlo's swan song and Juve could well regret no snapping him up!

I would have like to seen Zeman stay at Pescara and keep his exciting team together.

Verrati, Insigne, Immobile.....
on the 11th July, 2012 at 7:13am
I totally agree that Virratti should go to PSG should the deal be 100% complete, and I find it very romantic for the youngster to go abroad to widen his regular game play and experience, in which will add a value to Azzurri. You see it is very romantic when a player at his age play regulars, and experience Europe Football, or else he could be ending in a club like Inter, Milan & Juve sitting on the bench. Ehm, ask Ienesta, Torres etc of spain how have they won 3 major tourneys at 28 years of age
on the 11th July, 2012 at 4:11am
@salvatore alioto: we have read so many times.. there were this kid who was the next pirlo, the next zidane, the next kaka, etc. Did they eventually reach the level of those legends? NO. So what makes veratti different? It's normal that a club do not want to take too much risk. Veratti hasn't proven himself in seri A, so 13 mil is a crazy price. Marotta already offered 4 mil + bouy + let pescara keep veratti for a season. Isn't that enough? Don't blame juve, pescara's president are too greedy!
on the 11th July, 2012 at 3:28am
This kid is not worth anything close to 13mil. at best for an investment his true value would be around 4mil. Let's face it, he hasn't tasted topflight football, unproven & to young to demand a starting position, No smart club in the world would pay 13mil for such a player. PSG has money like Chelsea & Man City, once the transfer window closes & the owners start pounding expectations on Carlo, the young lad won't get another look. Another forgotten talent. At Pescara he would have had a chance.
on the 11th July, 2012 at 3:24am
Pescara obviously had no intention of doing a deal of any kind with Juventus, even though Verratti wanted to move to Turin. They clearly knew PSG were interested, so held out till they paid way over the odds for an unproven teenager. I do not want Juve to have anything to do with teams like PSG and Manchester City. Teams like this may think they are all powerful, but lets compare trophy cabinets, that shows where the real power in football lies. Players join these clubs for money...period.
on the 11th July, 2012 at 2:43am
Problem with Marotta is he no longer has any margin for error. Money wasted on the following:
Martinez - 12m
Krasic - 18m
Quagliarella - 15+m
Elia - 10m

Selling 50% of Giovinco's rights to Parma for 3m then paying them upwards of 11m to get 50% back(still don't get that one)

Marotta just throws money away and unfortunately it's cathcing up with him.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 8:25pm
funny. it seems Italian league still possessed much needed talents than other league in the recent transfer week. leo holds grudge towards serie a as a whole.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 7:47pm
This is another example of Italian football's lack of faith in youth players. It takes players far too long to break into the first team. I am a Milan fan and I have seen players like Abate, Antonini and Borriello take years to break into the first team after 5 or 6 loan periods. Paloschi scored on his debut in 2007 and is still being loaned out 5 years later. Why did Milan choose Mexes over Astori? Another player gone! He can join Rossi and Santon!
on the 10th July, 2012 at 7:22pm
Its been shown over the last few yrs, Italian Clubs cant compete with Spain&England. Germany followed as we fell further behind. Now we are falling behind France. Ok the 14 M E & 1.8 Mil a season for 4 yrs is a big gamble for a 19 yr old but more important is the message it sends. Italian clubs of the 80's/90's would waste this sum, remember Lentini, but currently they are only interested in spending money on established players and not willing to take a gamble on young Italian players.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 7:13pm
I think the new talent is better care for them and watching them grow at home, an example Neymar in Brazil, the only advantage is that PSG play in the Champions League and that the technician is Italian, several Italian clubs could have it before the price increase but it seems that were delayed
PSG's offer also raised the price for a new player
on the 10th July, 2012 at 6:41pm
You shouldn't fault Juve for not wanting to pay $12 million for a teenager that hasn't played a second in Serie A. If PSG is willing to spend that kinda money on an unproven that's there business. Even inter wanted to get a piece of Veratti but it is utter madness to spend that kind of money on him at this stage in his career. At the end of this it might be Veratti to lose the most if he struggles to adapt at PSG and to life in Paris. He may never reach his true potential.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 6:06pm
this is why Italy lost the Euros, they have no faith in their young players and it cost them. Juve should think this as an investment, buy him outright for 15 mil, there are plenty of games which he can be used in. Ten years from now they can sell him and double their money. Marotta and Juve need to understand that this is not 2000 and they do not carry the same clout.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 5:44pm
Juve have Marrone and Pogba who are also good midfield prospects but I really would have liked Verratti as he looks like the most likely of the 3 to become a genuine world-class player.
In saying that, Marotta is right not to be held to ransom over a player who has never played in the top flight. I hope that this move to PSG does not harm Verratti's career...
on the 10th July, 2012 at 5:42pm
well, italian clubs aren't the most cash rich in the world.. Juve have a fixed budget to work with which is dedicated to finding that "top striker", spending 12mil on a kid who, despite all the positive reviews and amazing potential, is still unproven at the highest level is not such an easy decision.. considering how cash is hard to come by..if only pescara would consider a co-ownership deal, it would be better for the kid and if he does live up to that potential, then better for pescara too
on the 10th July, 2012 at 4:23pm
I don't know what Marotta (Juve) are thinking. This is not 2000, and Juve can not "bully" their way into the transfer market. They do not have clout anymore. This stupid american sees this as an investment. Even if Juve were to pay 15-20 mil for him. 10 years from now they can sell him for twice the purchase price. Juve will be involved in plenty of games this year, and this young man will have the opportunities to showcase his talents.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 3:55pm
All of a sudden everyone talks about this guy.. To be honest I highly doubt he's worth the 15(?) mill PSG is offering him. Prices are insane.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 3:47pm
Shame. IF the kid is as good as advertised.

Hard to know right now, but if he is then Juve should spend the money and park him as you suggest. Given the redic sums they have spent on flops over the last 3-4 years, this hardly seems much of a risk to me - IF he is as good as advertised.

Plus they need a new regista9hajG if they are going to continue with the current style.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 2:05pm
PSG and Leonardo are robbing all the talent from Serie A. They just see us as a 'Sale: Everything Must Go' league. It's clear that the best option for Verratti, Pescara, and Italian football would be the deal with Juve and to stay with his hometown club for another year.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 2:02pm
This really is the last straw! PSG are rapidly becoming the nemesis of calcio. Originally i welcomed them as a challenger in europe until i discovered Leonardo is hell bent on stripping Serie A of it's assets one by one.
Pastore, Sirigu, Lavezzi, etc now this! thank goodness Milan saw sense over Silva.

They must be stopped at all costs! come on Marotta, get your act together! as of now PSG is Serie A's biggest threat mark my words.
on the 10th July, 2012 at 1:59pm

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