Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, Marco Verratti, has reportedly been negotiating to join Real Madrid for almost two years now, says French football pundit Frederic Hermel.
Real Madrid have been linked with the Italian midfielder ever since Carlo Ancelotti took over the club in 2013. Even club President Florentino Perez has confirmed in the past that he's willing to sign Marco Verratti for Real Madrid but now, the process of signing the Parisian just got a whole lot easier.
Even Verratti's agent, Donato Di Campli, has said that his client won't stay in Paris for much longer but what would have really given Real Madrid a boost are the words by Frederic Hermel, an RMC radio football pundit.
“His dream is to go to Real Madrid,” Hermel told Radio Monte Carlo.
"He has negotiated like crazy to come to Real Madrid for two years. I can tell you that this is not from an indirect source.
“And it was even after the departure of (Carlo) Ancelotti.”
Verratti is valued at around €40 million by Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid will find no problem in investing that much money in someone they've admired for a long time. But given they just extended Toni Kroos' contract for a lot more time, it's still a little unclear as to where Verratti could play, or whom he could replace at the Spanish capital.
Luka Modric – their other first-team midfield creator – will have only one year left on his current contract come the end of the season and Verratti could essential replace the Croat in the middle of the park but Zinedine Zidane's reluctance to sell Mateo Kovacic is also something that could deter Verratti from joining.
Kovacic is seen as Modric's natural successor for both club and country but while he hasn't made enough progress in recent months, the club are desperate to hang on to him and ensure they see the best of him in time to come.
Real Madrid, however, will have to wait January of 2018 before they can sign Marco Verratti given the transfer embargo that's been placed on them. The timing of the window coincides with the time Modric can sign a pre-contract with another club – if only if Real Madrid fail to extend his contract.
Meanwhile, the club are said to be close in announcing the extension of Gareth Bale's and Cristiano Ronaldo's contracts at the club. The Welshman is set to be offered a significantly better contract that the one he is on now and is like to spend the remainder of his foreseeable future at Real Madrid.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, is set to sign a new contract worth €215 million with Real Madrid and has time and again reiterated his desire to retire at the club.