Barcelona are reportedly set to pursue a move for Steven N’Zonzi if they fail to land Marco Verratti in the summer.

Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Barcelona have set their sights on Steven N’Zonzi as a possible alternative to Marco Verratti. The Catalan club are now set to battle Juventus in pursuit of the Sevilla midfielder in the summer transfer window.

N’Zonzi’s career has taken off ever since he made the move to Sevilla from Stoke City in the summer of 2015. In fact, in the last two seasons, the Frenchman has established himself as one of the most instrumental figures for the club, with his tenacious displays at the centre of the park.

2016/17 was another impressive season for N’Zonzi as he was ever present in midfield for Sevilla, playing 46 matches in all competitions and turning in his typically solid displays. He also managed to chip in with 3 goals and as many assists, and it’s not surprising that interest in him is growing.

Several clubs have been vying for the player’s signature in recent months, but Juventus have been linked with him the most heavily, with Massimiliano Allegri keen to recruit a top quality midfielder this summer.

The Juventus boss currently has the likes of Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio and Stefano Sturaro to choose from in midfield. And while Pjanic has been sublime for the Bianconeri, Khedira and Marchisio have had their run-ins with injuries and Sturaro is more of a squad player.

Thus, Allegri is eyeing a player who can add solidity to the heart of his side’s midfield and is, thus, set to make a move for N’Zonzi. Juventus, though, face stiff competition in the race to secure the player’s services with Barcelona emerging as suitors for him.

Will N'Zonzi be lining up alongside Lionel Messi next season? (Photo courtesy - Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)

Will N’Zonzi be lining up alongside Lionel Messi next season? (Photo courtesy – Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)

The Catalan club, like Juventus, are in the market for a midfielder as well, albeit for different reasons. They have failed to fill the gaping hole left by the departure of Xavi, with the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez frustrating with their inconsistent performances.

On top of that, club captain, Andres Iniesta is 33 and well into the twilight years of his career, which has further accentuated the need to sign a midfielder this summer. Barcelona’s primary target for the position remains Marco Verratti, but there are several complications in their pursuit of the player.

The Italian is contracted with PSG till 2021, meaning he is likely to command a sizable transfer fee unless he forces a move in the summer. And with Barcelona’s unwilling to spend a fortune on a single player, they could be forced to look elsewhere for a summer recruitment.

N’Zonzi has, thus, emerged as a viable alternative to Verratti, as a player who can add steel to Ernesto Valverde’s squad next season. A move for the Frenchman, though, hinges on Barcelona failing in their pursuit of Verratti, and it remains to be seen if the Blaugranas challenge Juventus for the player’s signature in the summer.

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