Barcelona reportedly lead Juventus in the race to sign Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo have reported that Barcelona lead the race to sign Marco Verratti from PSG in the summer transfer window, ahead of Juventus. Real Madrid are also reportedly interested in signing the Italian midfielder.

Verratti has blossomed into one of the finest central midfielders in the world in recent seasons. Having moved to PSG from Pescara nearly five years ago, he has already played almost 200 times for the club to become a key figure at the Parc des Princes.

2016/17 has again been a season in which Verratti has reaffirmed his status as one of the best midfielders in Europe after turning in several stellar performances for PSG. However, if recent reports are to be believed, his future beyond the summer could be away from the French champions.

Closer to a Camp Nou switch? (Photo courtesy - Romain Lafabregue/AFP/Getty Images)

Closer to a Camp Nou switch? (Photo courtesy – Romain Lafabregue/AFP/Getty Images)

Several top clubs have been linked with Verratti in recent months, including the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Inter Milan among others. But Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus remain the front runners in the race to sign the 24-year-old.

Barcelona’s interest in Verratti is well documented, with the Catalan club earmarking him as a long-term successor to Andres Iniesta. With Iniesta on the wrong side of 30 and clearly in the twilight years of his glittering career, Verratti has been seen as a like for like replacement for the Spanish midfield maestro.

Meanwhile, at Juventus, the future of Sami Khedira beyond this season is uncertain with reports claiming that he could be on his way out in the summer. As a result, the Bianconeri are eyeing Verratti as a priority target and have made enquiries to sign him, as per the report.

Real Madrid, too, are keen on Verratti, with Luka Modric showing signs that age might be catching up to him. On top of that, Isco is also being linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu, making Zinedine Zidane look for viable alternatives.

However, it has now emerged that Barcelona hold the advantage over other clubs in pursuit of Verratti. Barcelona technical director Robert Fernandez has been in touch with Ariedo Braida, who is believed to be a key figure in the deal that took Verratti from Pescara to PSG and could again play a part for him to move to Camp Nou.

However, PSG are unwilling to let go of Verratti any time soon, with club president Nasser Al Khalaifi denying the overtures made by his Barcelona counterpart, Josep Maria Bartomeu. It now remains to be seen if Barcelona can do anything to change PSG’s stance. For now, though, they are in the driver’s seat to secure Verratti’s services in the summer.

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