Real Madrid are reportedly planning to steal a march on Barcelona in the summer pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.

Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Real Madrid have stepped up their chase for Marco Verratti, and are planning to lure him away from Paris Saint-Germain the summer. Barcelona are also hot on the trails of the Italian central midfielder.

Verratti is slowly evolving into one of the finest midfielders in Europe, growing from strength to strength at Ligue 1 heavyweights PSG. In nearly five years with Les Parisiens, he has notched up close to 200 appearances, and has become a key part in the club’s success in recent seasons.

2016/17 has been an uncharacteristically poor season by PSG’s lofty standards from recent seasons, but Verratti has still managed to stand tall and make himself count as an influential figure in the centre of the park.

Time to don the whites of Real Madrid? (Photo courtesy - Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Time to don the whites of Real Madrid? (Photo courtesy – Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

However, despite establishing himself as a key figure at the Parc des Princes, several reports have claimed that Verratti could soon be on his way out of the French capital. In fact, the report goes on to add as much too, stating that his future beyond the summer lies away from Ligue 1.

Should he make the move away from PSG, two of the biggest clubs in Europe will be lying in wait in order to land him when the transfer window opens in June – Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Barcelona are eager to improve their squad in the summer after what has been an underwhelming campaign for the club. Midfield has been a major area of concern, with the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez unable to complement Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets consistently.

In addition to that, Iniesta is on the wrong side of 30 and is slowly approaching the end of his glittering career. Barcelona are, thus, seeking to find a long-term successor for their captain and have identified Verratti as a viable option.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, do not exactly have a pressing need to sign a midfielder, with Zinedine Zidane having the luxury of choosing from a pool of top quality midfielder.

However, Isco is being heavily linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu, and Luka Modric has shown that age might be slowly catching up to him. If the duo end up leaving Real Madrid in the summer, Zidane could be forced into the market for a central midfielder.

That is where Verratti comes in, having emerged as a priority target for Real Madrid as per the report. And Los Blancos have been in touch with PSG to convey that the club will be willing to top any offer that Barcelona makes.

One thing seems to becoming certain though. Verratti is likely to move away from PSG in the summer, with Real Madrid and Barcelona willing to go all out to land him. It remains to be seen if Real Madrid can succeed in their plan to usurping Barcelona in the race to sign the 24-year-old.

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