Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is confident that the club will be significantly strengthened this summer but failed to comment on their reported interest in Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.
Verratti, 24, has been heavily linked with a move to Barca, but when speaking with beIN SPORTS, Bartomeu said that he “cannot talk about” certain figures of interest.
“Verratti is a PSG player and has a contract with that club,” Bartomeu added. “I only trust the work that [sporting director] Robert [Fernandez] does but without discussing names.
“They know what is more convenient for us, what we need for next season and they are working hard on this. The Barca fans can be calm because next season we will have a very competitive squad, that will fight from the first day for all possible titles.”
While it is not certain that Verratti will leave PSG this summer, Hatem Ben Arfa looks likely to depart the Parc des Princes.
However, according to Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere, the France international will not be returning to the Allianz Riviera after Mario Balotelli’s contract was extended.
“Do not believe everything that is written,” Rivere said at the Premiere Ligue gala. “We have just managed to keep Mario. We have a budget of between €43-45 million. There are not the financial means to have both in the same team.
“Firstly, Hatem belongs to PSG and I do not know what they will do with him. Everybody enjoyed Hatem’s time with Nice and he is a boy I have a lot of time for. However, it is just not feasible. We still need three or four new recruits. Our budget has actually changed very little.”
Ben Arfa is reported to be of interest to a number of Turkish sides, with Fenerbahce said to be leading the chase for his signature.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.