How Barcelona could line up with Verratti

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The Italy international is a top target for the Catalan club and here we look at how the Blaugrana could play with the PSG midfielder in 2017-18


ANALYSIS

All change at Barcelona. Ernesto Valverde has arrived as coach to replace Luis Enrique after the Asturian stepped down at the end of the 2016-17 season and now attentions at Camp Nou turn to summer signings.

V erratti wants 'top club' in Spain or Italy

Long-time target Marco Verratti is the priority for the Catalan club in the transfer window and the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder finally looks ready to swap the Parc des Princes for a move to one of Europe's elite clubs.

So where would he fit in at Barcelona? The obvious answer to that question is in the position previously occupied by Xavi. The former Spain midfielder left Barca in 2015 and has not really been replaced. And he himself has even said that Verratti is the player best suited to his former role.

In that system, Verratti would start on the right of a three-man midfield (instead of Ivan Rakitic), with Sergio Busquets deeper in the middle and Andres Iniesta on the left, those three behind Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Barcelona Verratti line-up graphic

In his unveiling earlier this month, Valverde said he respects Barca's 4-3-3 traditions, but the former Athletic Club coach refused to rule out using different systems next season as Blaugrana boss. 

M essi will be world's best until he retires - Sampaoli

Valverde has utilised a number of systems in his coaching career, including 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 4-1-4-1 and 3-4-3. However, his favoured formation at San Mames was 4-2-3-1 and he could use that at Barca too, with Verratti alongside Busquets deep in midfield, Messi, Iniesta and Neymar ahead of those two and Suarez as a lone front man.

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The 53-year-old explained in his presentation that it is not all about the starting system, however, stressing that it is the players' movement on the pitch that will be the most important thing.

Whatever formation is utilised, Verratti is as close as it gets to a like-for-like replacement for Xavi two years on and if he signs, the Italy international will be Barca's midfield playmaker - whether he starts on the right or in a more central role.

Verratti at Barca line-up 2

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