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Reports: Barcelona have found their alternative for Marco Verratti

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 19:  Athletic Club head coach Ernesto Valverde looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between Torino FC and Athletic Club on February 19, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Is Kondogbia a part of Valverde’s plans for next season?
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 22 Jun 2017, 17:59 IST
Rumors
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What’s the story?

Inter Milan midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has emerged as a surprise target for Barcelona.

ESPN report that the 24-year-old Kondogbia will be the alternate option for Barca if they fail to sign Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Marco Verratti. They also claim that Barcelona’s international consultant, Areido Braida, and Inter sporting director Pedro Ausilio met in a restaurant and discussed the situation of the Frenchman.

Nice’s Jean Michael Seri and Juventus’ Miralem Pjanic are also among the options for the Spanish side.

In case you didn’t know...

MILAN, ITALY - AUGUST 28:  Geoffrey Kondogbia of Internazionale in action during the Seria A match between FC Internazionale and US Citta di Palermo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on August 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
Geoffrey Kondogbia

Geoffrey Kondogbia had his taste of Spanish football during his one-year spell at Sevilla. The Andalusian scouts spotted him at French club RC Lens and brought him to Spain for a fee believed to be around €4 million. 

His performances in La Liga and the victorious Europa League run earned him a return to France as in 2013, newly promoted AS Monaco offered €20 million for the defensive midfielder. He helped them qualify for the Champions League after a decade and, after two successful seasons, left for Inter for €36 million.

Also read: 5 things you should know about Barcelona target Ousmane Dembele

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Kondogbia’s strongest aspects are his strength and his tackling as he managed to make 2.6 tackles per Serie A game. But his surprise element is his skilled dribbling. He even managed to register 2.3 dribbles per league game, something not expected from a defensive midfielder.

SEVILLE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 29:  Leo Messi (R) of FC Barcelona runs for the ball with Geoffrey Kondogbia (L) of Sevilla FC during the La Liga match between Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on September 29, 2012 in Seville, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Kondogbia during his time at Sevilla

The heart of the matter

Marco Verratti’s transfer saga is one which would probably take a long time. While the Italian is keen on joining the club, PSG are reluctant to let him go which means that they would demand a huge sum of money from the Catalans.

This also means Verratti will have to force a move to leave PSG and join Barca. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the Parisian club, who are under no pressure of selling the player. Or any player, for that matter.

So, Barcelona are preparing a plan B, which includes Kondogbia and Guangzhou Evergrande’s Paulinho, who would cost the club a lot lesser.

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Author’s take

Kondogbia is an asset to any club he plays at. However, he may not be needed at Barca as he plays as a defensive pivot and Barca have Sergio Busquets, who is an absolute boss in that position. It all depends on what Ernesto Valverde has in his mind.

Published 22 Jun 2017, 17:50 IST
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