• Robert Fernandez confirms that the club want to sign a versatile midfielder.
  • Clubf chief plays down talk of Neymar exit.

Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez has confirmed that the La Liga giants are still trying to bolster the middle of the park with a versatile midfielder who can adapt to different positions. Marco Verratti and Paulinho are said to be Ernesto Valverde's two top targets but Fernandez was coy on the potential arrival of the two players.

The Catalans have already strengthen the back-line and the attack with the additions of Nelson Semedo and Gerard Deulofeu.

The right-back has joined from Benfica in a deal worth €30m (£26.3m, $34.4m) plus add-ons while Deulofeu has returned to the Nou Camp after the club activated a €12m buyback clause to bring him back from Everton.

Furthermore, the club have also activated an option to make Marlon Santos' loan move from Fluminense permanent after the Brazilian centre-back impressed with the second team during the 2016-2017 campaign.

However, the Catalans are yet to sign a midfielder despite having been reportedly earmarked as their top priority since the beginning of the transfer window.

Verratti and Paulinho are both keen on making the move to the Nou Camp but Barcelona have respectively been knocked back in their attempts to lure them away from Paris Saint Germaine and Guangzhou Evergrande.

Fernandez has failed to disclose the state of those negotiations but did provide some details about the kind of player they are looking for to continue the summer overhaul.

"It would be convenient for (the new signing) to be a midfielder who can play in all three positions, in the right, the left and in the middle [as a holding midfielder]. Playing in only one position would makes it difficult for him to have regular time," the Barcelona technical secretary said in a press conference on Monday (17 July).

Fernandez refused to rule out completely the signing of Verratti from PSG but suggested that the club could have more alternatives to cover that role.

"When players have a contract in another club the situation is always very complicated. Barcelona always have the obligation to be in the market and control as many as players as possible. Logically if they are good [players] we will be on alert of any situation. We have a lot of time ahead of us," Fernandez added.

"If a good option comes up we will be on alert but it is difficult [to find good players] because we already have a magnificent squad. The one who arrives has to be an important player, and these players usually have a contract and usually belong to big teams."

Recent reports in Spain have suggested that Barcelona would be ready to include Andre Gomes or Ivan Rakitic as part of a swap deal for Verratti.

However, Fernandez said: "Our intention is always to improve not to lose players. We want them to be here."

Meanwhile, Fernandez also played down recent speculations linking Neymar with a summer move away from the Nou Camp.

"I don't think that's going to happen," he said when asked whether he feared any club could meet the release clause of the Brazilian ace before the end of the transfer window.

Verratti is reportedly likely to move to Barcelona. Getty