Marco Verratti to Barcelona: Ernesto Valverde refuses to sell Andre

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LIONEL MESSI returned to Barcelona training for the first time under new gaffer Ernesto Valverde following his busy summer.

Valverde was quizzed about the club's pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Veratti but he said: 'I am concentrating on working with the players that we have. But Valverde still has some hopes amidst rumours of a swap deal which could involve either Ivan Rakitic or Andre Gomes and a fee of about 65 million in exchange for Verratti.

Although better known as an attacking midfielder, the player is capable of playing in a deeper role and could yet find himself plying his trade in the Premier League before the start of next season.

He told Cadena Cope: "Verratti can become a key player for Barça, and we always have to fight to attract the big players".

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As for Verratti, Barca's interest in the PSG gem is said to have increased since they missed out on new Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos.

"If it happens, then that would be great". The player's agent had been pushing for Psg to sell Verratti but the club's owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi is not willing to listen to any offer for the former Pescara star. That's how I work, with the players I have here.

The bad news for Mourinho is that news of a possible Rakitic sale has alerted the free spending Italian side AC Milan, who have spent over €200m in recent weeks as fresh investment looks to bring the good times back to the San Siro. It's very hard to make it better, because of the high standard of players that we have. "We know the club we are in and that a lot of players want to come here, we want to have the best players in the world and actually we have them", he said.

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