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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Verratti: I came close to Juventus move

Marco Verratti has said he came close to joining Juventus in the summer but opted for Paris St Germain after the Italian club "only spoke of the future" while the French big spenders concentrated on the present.

• Blog: PSG's unsung sensation

The midfielder, whose departure from Serie A was described as "a scandal" by the Italy coach Cesare Prandelli, gave a lengthy interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport in which he explained his decision to choose the Ligue 1 club over the reigning Italian champions.

He said: "A move to Juventus was close in June, but PSG came forward with something good for Pescara and an interesting project for me.

"What does this mean? Juve spoke only of the future, Paris of the present. PSG are destined to become one of the five best teams in the world, and I will play in the Champions League.

"Would it have been more difficult to see me immediately on the field at Juve? Inevitably, as there is Pirlo, but I felt ready to play. I think if a team believes in you from the start it is important, and at PSG they made me feel like I was at the centre of the project."

Verratti also addressed the apparent dip in stature suffered by Serie A, but said he did not believe that would last.

"The Italian league is the best, but something has changed because of the [match-fixing] scandals," he explained.

"It is inevitable that a foreigner would prefer to choose other destinations. That said, I think within two or three years maybe Milan will again have an Ibrahimovic or Thiago Silva - it depends on the project."

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