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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Barcelona tried to sign Veratti while Di Maria deal collapsed over PSG's €70m valuation

Primera Liga club endured a frustrating transfer window after Neymar left and a failure to land a succession of top targets.

Marco Veratti, left, is on international duty with Italy, who lost to Spain 3-0 on Saturday in a 2018 World Cup qualifier. Maurizio degl'Innocenti / ANSA
Marco Veratti, left, is on international duty with Italy, who lost to Spain 3-0 on Saturday in a 2018 World Cup qualifier. Maurizio degl'Innocenti / ANSA

Barcelona director Robert Fernandez has revealed the club tried to sign Marco Veratti from Paris Saint-Germain this summer while reports also claim a move for the Italian midfielder's teammate Angel Di Maria also broke down.

Barca's hierarchy are facing increased pressure after a summer that has seen one of their star players leave the club and a failure to land a succession of top transfer targets.

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Brazilian forward Neymar made his way to PSG for a world record €222 million (Dh967m) last month, while Barca's protracted pursuit of Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho ended in failure after four rejected bids, the last coming on deadline day reported to be worth €160m.

Barca board member Albert Soler revealed on Saturday that Liverpool had set an asking price of €200m, a sum Barca were not willing to meet in order not to "put the club at risk".

Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele arrived at the Camp Nou in a deal worth potentially €150m to help placate the frustration of the fans. Brazilian midfielder Paulinho and Portuguese full-back Nelson Semedo also moved to Barca, while winger Gerard Deulofeu returned to the club after two years at Premier League side Everton.

However, it has not been enough to ease the pressure on the Barcelona board, and the revelation that the club failed to push through a deal for Veratti is unlikely to go down well with supporters.

"It's not true that we didn't go for Verratti," Fernandez said. "I personally spoke with Unai Emery and he knows that he's a player we wanted."

Meanwhile, two other transfer targets, Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez and Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, failed to secure moves to the Camp Nou after Barca pulled out of negotiations.

"Inigo and Seri are two players that we considered, like many others," Fernandez said. "But we decided that it was best not to sign them."

In separate media reports, Di Maria's proposed move to Barcelona fell through after the club refused to match PSG's €70m valuation of the Argentine midfielder.

PSG, looking to balance the books following Neymar's arrival, were reportedly prepared to let Di Maria move in the opposite direction, although Barca were unwilling to strike a deal.