Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti is set to sign for Al Arabi in Qatar after both Liverpool and Manchester United failed to land the midfielder.
The 30-year-old has been with the Parisians since the summer of 2012 when they paid Italian club Pescara around €12m. The Italy international went on to make 416 appearances in all competitions for the Ligue 1 giants, scoring 11 goals. But finding the back of the net was not his main task. The diminutive schemer is a master at controlling the centre of the pitch.
He has been one of the driving forces behind PSG’s success, with ex-team-mate Lionel Messi labelling him ‘one of the best in the world in his position’.
However, current Parc des Princes manager Luis Enrique has made it clear he does not feature in his long-term plans.
Therefore he was allowed to talk to other clubs, with Chelsea also thought to be keen, in addition to their Premier League rivals.
Inevitably, the man with 55 Azzurri caps was linked with a switch to Saudi Arabia.
Many top-class players of a similar age have been lured to the nation’s emerging league with the riches on offer.
And sure enough, Saudi club Al Hilal agreed personal terms with the Italian back in July.
However, they could not agree a fee with PSG and that trail went cold.
But so did the possibility of moving to England before the opportunity of playing in Qatar emerged.
It seems as though the transfer will soon be completed, with multiple outlets reporting the deal.
Prem teams miss out on bargain Verratti deal
This summer has seen a record spend by Premier League clubs, with Chelsea once again digging deep.
Arsenal and United have also invested in top-quality players but they all missed out on Verratti.
Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has now given his thumbs up to the deal being completed.
He said on X: “Marco Verratti to Al Arabi, here we go! Verbal agreement finally sealed with the Italian midfielder who’s set to sign on a permanent deal with Qatari club.”
And it appears as though the Qatari outfit will not have to break to bank to secure his signature.
“Understand Verratti will travel to Doha in the next 24 hours,” he added. “PSG agreed on €45m fee 10 days ago, it’s done.”
Liverpool were reportedly never that close to landing the midfield ace.
But many reports suggested United boss Erik ten Hag wanted the experienced star in his ranks.
However, the Red Devils could not get a deal done before the window closed.
Verratti looks set to be the Qatar Stars League’s most notable summer addition.
There has been an exodus of talent to Saudi Arabia in recent months, with Qatar a poor relation in terms of recruitment.
But now they appear to have a statement signing of their own to boost the league.
The fact that PSG have Qatari owners may also have played a part in the deal.
Al Arabi finished second last season and will hope to go one better this time around.
However, they have yet to win a league game in 2023-2024, with three draws leaving them in mid table.