Barcelona will turn their attention to Atletico Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez if they fail to sign Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain this summer, latest reports in Spain suggest.

Italy international Verratti has emerged as a top priority for the Catalan giants this summer with new manager Ernesto Valverde eager to rejuvenate the club's midfield options. AS are among the publications to suggest the 24-year-old, along with Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin and Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele have been identified as the three first-choice options in three key areas this summer – but so far, Barcelona have been frustrated in their attempts to do business.

Despite suggestions Verratti is keen on a move to the Nou Camp, Paris Saint-Germain remain determined to keep him at the Parc de Princes with Patrick Kluivert, who up until two weeks ago served as the club's director of football, suggesting the French giants won't let him go even for €100m.

Spanish daily AS now report Barcelona are considering another option in Saúl - a deal that could also be fraught with complications.

AS suggest the Atletico Madrid midfielder fits perfectly into the football philosophy Valverde will try to impose on his team and will dispatch technical secretary Robert Fernandez to the Under-21 European Championship in Poland to watch over the 22-year-old, who has had a key role in Spain reaching the semi-final stages of the competition.

Saul Niguez
Saul is currently on international duty with Spain at the Under-21 European Championship. Getty

Convincing Atletico to part ways with their midfielder is an entirely different matter, however. Atletico are blocked from signing any new players until 1 January after a transfer ban was handed down by Spain's Court of Arbitration for Sport in early June. The Madrid club are very unlikely to allow any of their prized assets to leave the club during a time when signing replacements is near-impossible, with the transfer ban also helping to scupper Antoine Griezmann's proposed move to Manchester United.

Saul's €80m release clause also provides a stumbling block.