Marco Verratti has found himself at the centre of rather intriguing transfer speculation once again, with his agent confirming that Real Madrid were unsuccessful in an attempt to secure his signature over the summer.
According to reports from The Daily Express, such a failure has handed a timely boost to heavyweight Premier League trio Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, with all three of those teams said to have been tracking Verratti over recent months.
Real Madrid failure
"Did Real Madrid try to sign Verratti? You could say that, yes," the Italian international's representative, Donato Di Campli, was quoted in the same article.
"Madrid made an offer for Marco, but PSG had their demands and the clubs didn't reach an agreement, so we didn't do anything more.
"This is why Marco stayed put and still plays with PSG."
While Di Campli does not give any real clues as to a specific timeframe for that offer from Real Madrid, one must assume that it became before the respective signings of James Rodriguez and World Cup winner Toni Kroos.
Those aforementioned arrivals led to the unpopular departures of Angel di Maria and Xabi Alonso, of course, so it seems extremely unlikely that Carlo Ancelotti would have been eager to sanction the pursuit of yet another top-class midfield player with the options available to him in that particular area ahead of the new La Liga campaign.
PSG willing to sell
While Italian international Verratti has proved himself an integral figure at PSG since moving to the Parc des Princes from Serie B outfit Pescara in 2012, Di Campli's admission does seem to suggest that the club could be willing to dispense of his services if presented with the right financial package.
Of all Verratti's alleged Premier League suitors, this should be of most significant interest to Manchester United and manager Louis van Gaal.
Next United addition?
While relatively late deals for Argentine Angel di Maria and former Ajax utility man Daley Blind have added to the quality of midfield options at Old Trafford, Van Gaal remains a touch short in this area and could certainly benefit in the future from Verratti's presence.
Chelsea are obviously less in need of a new midfielder of Verratti's impressive caliber, with Jose Mourinho's decision to bolster his own first-team squad with the addition of Cesc Fabregas in June so far paying dividends during the Blues' formidably strong start to the 2014/15 season.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have a wealth of attacking midfield options at their disposal at present, although - Mathieu Flamini aside - they do arguably lack a real biting presence in the centre of the pitch to provide the necessary protection for an otherwise settled back four.
While Verratti does like to drop somewhat deeper, he is more of a conductor than a hard-hitting, no-nonsense tackler, so it remains to be seen just how keen Arsene Wenger is to sign the player.