Barcelona acknowledges interest in PSG midfielder Verratti

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MADRID (AP) Barcelona’s president has confirmed widespread speculation that it wants to pry Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain.

President Josep Bartomeu told Catalunya Radio on Friday that Verratti “is a player that interests the club.”

But Bartomeu also acknowledged PSG was not looking to part with the Italy midfielder.

“PSG doesn’t want to sell him,” he said. “Their president has told me that he doesn’t want to speak to me about Verratti.”

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Bartomeu said his club wants to sign “two or three players and bring up one or two players from the reserve team.”

Barcelona is said to be interested in Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin and Real Betis midfielder Dani Ceballos.

Also, Barcelona said France defender Jeremy Matheiu will be leaving the club after three seasons to sign with Sporting Lisbon.

Real Madrid presented defender Jesus Vallejo, who returned to the club after two years on loan at Real Zaragoza and German club Eintracht Frankfurt. He is expected to replace Pepe following his move to Besiktas in Turkey.

Espanyol announced the signing of midfielder Esteban Granero to a three-year deal. The former Real Madrid and Queens Park Rangers player arrives from Real Sociedad.