There was quite the furore when AS . broke the news that Marco Verratti had agreed a deal to Real Madrid. And then Gab Marcotti on ESPN FC commented that Verratti’s agent had met with Real and signing fees were discussed. There are quite a few reasons why the transfer makes sense, but Real released a statement saying

“In light of the rumours spread by various media outlets concerning an alleged offer on the part of Real Madrid for the player Marco Verratti, Real Madrid have not made any contact with PSG or the player’s agent, and therefore these rumours are completely untrue.”

That’s fairly unequivocal. But these are strange times, and Madrid’s transfer refutements have counted for far less in the past.

There is no doubt that Verratti is one of the most coveted young players in the world and inhabits that rarefied air that seems to separate him and Pogba from the rest of their crop. He is an immaculate passer, both over long and short distances and can dribble and run at defences. 3 goals and 8 assists is a fairly reasonable haul from a deeper position and his WhoScored rating of 7.59 ranks 5th best in Ligue 1

He is however contracted to PSG till 2019 and they see him as a key piece in their long term vision. Marco has himself spoken of his admiration for the city, but he is a footballer and not a tourist. And if history tells us anything, it is that Real Madrid tend to get what they want. Transfermarkt lists his value as 30 million Euros but expect a fair premium if a deal does happen.