Barcelona suggest they will wait for Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti
BARCELONA -- Ernesto Valverde and Robert Fernandez have suggested Barcelona will wait until the very last day of the transfer window before giving up on signing Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.
New coach Valverde is happy with the squad he inherited from Luis Enrique -- with the additions of Gerard Deulofeu and Nelson Semedo -- but remains open to improvements if the right player becomes available this summer.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has already confirmed the club's interest in landing Italy international Verratti, even saying the player himself wants to move to Camp Nou.
However, PSG have so far refused to open negotiations with Barca and as things stand the midfielder looks set to remain at the Parc des Princes.
"My intention is to have the best squad possible, but it's difficult to make it much better because of what we have here," Valverde said in a news conference on Monday amid a barrage of questions about Verratti.
"You can make signings until the end of August and we know how things are. I've not marked any dates [for signings to be in place]. Until the last day of the market, nothing can be ruled out.
"We always want to improve, but the players we have are really good. I am really happy with them and the idea of getting to know them better."
Questioned on Barca's interest in Brazilian midfielder Paulinho, Valverde stuck to the same line, saying: "It's difficult to improve what we have in the team. Many names get linked and the summer is long, but for me, the important thing is to get the best out of the players I have."
Sporting director Fernandez also confirmed Barca will be pursuing transfers up until the very last minute.
"There's a lot of time ahead of us [in the window], so there is no need to rush," he said when asked about the Verratti situation.
"Barca are always monitoring the best players. If an option comes up which we like -- the ideal would be a player who can play in all three midfield positions -- we will be on top of it, but it's difficult with players who have contracts [with other clubs] and who play for good teams."
Reports over the weekend suggested Barca would be willing to include Ivan Rakitic or Andre Gomes as a makeweight in any potential Verratti deal, but Fernandez said the club's "intention is not to lose any players."
Meanwhile, he also denied the claim in Diario Sport on Monday that Neymar is "uncomfortable" at the club and is keen to move somewhere else where he can become the star player.
"That's not going to happen," he said when asked if he could imagine Barca without Neymar. "We have not had any offers for any player in our squad and no club will pay the release clause."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.