Barcelona have reportedly entered the race to sign Paris-Saint Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.
According to TuttoMercatoWeb the Catalan giants see the Italy international as a potential replacement for veteran Xavi, who is leaving the club this summer.
It represents a setback for Premier League pair Arsenal and Manchester United, both of whom are keen to lure the 22-year-old to England when the transfer window opens, claims the Daily Star.
Verratti has impressed for Laurent Blanc’s side this season and has been heavily-relied upon by the Frenchman, making 42 appearances in all competitions.
His 16 yellow cards during that time suggests that he is not afraid to put his foot in when involved in the heat of the engine room battle.
United are likely to be weighing up their summer transfer window options after a run of three successive Premier League games without a point or even a goal. Their latest loss came at the hands of struggling West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.
The Gunners are blessed with a number of ball-playing midfielders, although there are ongoing concerns about the poor fitness record of England international Jack Wilshere.