Solskjaer previews Man Utd's clash with Villarreal
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On Tuesday night, Marco Verratti was so good for PSG that Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admitted he was ‘in love’ with the Italy international. And, over at Manchester United, they may be left ruing a mistake. They were reportedly previously offered the midfielder back in 2018, when Jose Mourinho was in charge, only to end up passing on the chance to snap him up instead.
Verratti and PSG turned on the style last night, putting Manchester City to the sword in their Champions League clash.
The headlines were stolen by Lionel Messi but, after the game, Guardiola waxed lyrical over his Italian team-mate instead.
Speaking about Verratti, Guardiola said: “I want to congratulate PSG on the win.
“We really had a good match, and showed character. It was a fantastic game.
“We should have scored and we didn’t, that’s why we lost. Controlling Leo [Messi] for 90 minutes is impossible, he can’t be stopped.
“[On Verratti] I’m in love. He’s an exceptional player.
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“When he’s under pressure he can play the extra pass. I know about his character, his personality.
“I’m happy that he’s back from injury. You can always count on him for build-up play. In the first half, we were a bit soft with him.”
Now, over at United, they’re having a midfield crisis.
Fred and Scott McTominay have been backed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but their pairing, amongst the fans at least, isn’t a popular one.
They lack a conductor, somebody to make matches tick over in the sort of way the likes of Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes used to do during their prime.
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And Verratti could have been the answer.
Back in the summer of 2018, Italian outlet Calciomercato ran a story claiming United had been ‘offered’ the PSG star by Mino Raiola.
At the time, Raiola was trying to find the midfielder a new club after he’d failed to orchestrate a move to Barcelona.
And the super-agent was installed with a belief that United could take him up on his pitch by bringing Verratti to Old Trafford.
It would have been a sublime move and, given Mourinho’s fondness for combative midfielders, may have made perfect sense.
But United, in the end, didn’t do that.
And that’s been their loss, with Verratti going from strength to strength in the years since.
He helped PSG win Ligue 1 in 2020, while also helping Italy beat England to triumph at the European Championships back in the summer.
And, as United look set to place their faith in McTominay and Fred, it’s a transfer mistake that should haunt them.
Verratti has, publicly, never addressed his possible failed move to United.
But he did vent his fury after PSG were beaten by the Red Devils in dramatic circumstances back in March 2019.
“Maybe I’m more frustrated than others, but football is like that,” Verratti told Telefoot after Marcus Rashford’s winner saw their hopes of Champions League glory come to an end.
“We can’t have everything.
“The fans are disappointed by the elimination. I’m confident in this team.
“This match, if we played it 10 times, we would win nine. We must not change much.
“We have a great coach and some of the best players in the world with Neymar and Kylian.”
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