Arsenal & Chelsea face Italian fight over Ligue 1 starlet

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Arsenal and Chelsea face competition from Juventus in the race to sign highly-rated Italian international Marco Verratti.

The 20-year-old midfielder has been earning rave reviews at Paris Saint-Germain this season, impressing in his first season with the club after signing from Pescara in the summer transfer window.

TalkSPORT claims his performances in Ligue 1 have ‘been noted’ by Premier League clubs, but the Gunners and Blues must ‘ramp up their interest’ if they are to beat Juventus to the signature.

Verratti has a good relationship with manager and compatriot Carlo Ancelotti, but the ex-Chelsea boss is under pressure at the Parc des Princes, and if he gets the sack then the midfielder will ‘seek an exit’ from the club, according to the report.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has a track record of getting the best out of young players at the Emirates Stadium, but needs quick results in January with the north London club currently languishing in 10th in the Premier League.

The Gunners have been linked with a number of players in recent weeks – most notably strikers – with Demba Ba and Klaas Jan-Huntelaar both on the transfer radar.

However, Verratti would bolster the Arsenal midfield if he joined the club, and compete for a place alongside Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are in a state of transfer flux following Rafael Benitez’s arrival at Stamford Bridge on an interim basis.

The Spaniard replaced Roberto Di Matteo at the Stamford Bridge helm, and it’s unclear how much control he’ll be given in the January window by Blues owner Roman Abramovich, given that he’s expected to leave his post at the end of the season.

Verratti would be an excellent long-term addition for Chelsea though, and would compete for places in midfield alongside Oscar, Ramires, Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel.

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