Ernesto Valverde relaxed amid Barcelona's Marco Verratti pursuit

Former Athletic Bilbao coach Valverde acknowledged that he would like to have the squad ready as soon as possible, but he knows that the club has to have patience during the transfer window. When you are on the bench as a rival you are thinking about what you have to do to stop the surge that arises and sometimes you lack players to stop him (Messi).

'Messi will go on dictating the way we play. It's very hard to make it better, because of the high standard of players that we have.

'I want to have the best squad possible but it's hard to improve because we already have the best players here'.

Although better known as an attacking midfielder, the player is capable of playing in a deeper role and could yet find himself plying his trade in the Premier League before the start of next season.

Both Valverde and Barcelona's technical secretary Robert Fernandez spoke on Monday and were coy when quizzed about the club's pursuit of Paris Saint Germain midfielder Marco Veratti.

"I'm counting on both players next season", he told a press conference, as reported by Football Italia.

But MailSport understands Rakitic, who has only recently signed a contract extension and found a new house in Barcelona, has no intention of being part of any exchange and the club are also not in favour of gaining one midfielder only to lose another.

He was also asked if he could envisage a Barcelona without Neymar if a club paid the Brazilian's buy-out clause of 222 million euros (254 million dollars).

"That's not going to happen", he said when asked if he could imagine Barca without Neymar. "Whoever comes here has to be a big player", he said.

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