Paris Saint-Germain manager Unai Emery has moved to set the record straight on what he dubs a "false controversy" regarding Barcelona's ultimately fruitless summer pursuit of highly-rated PSG stalwart Marco Verratti.
Italian international Verratti was identified as the Catalans' priority target during the early stages of the most recent transfer window, with manager Ernesto Valverde eager to bolster his squad with the addition of at least one new midfielder.
Barcelona failed to secure such a deal, however, eventually completing a surprising €40m (£36.5m, $47.6m) swoop to bring former Tottenham Hotspur flop Paulinho back to Europe from Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande instead.
Further midfield recruits were not forthcoming amid multiple rebuffed offers for Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho and a late U-turn on OGC Nice's Jean Michael Seri.
The issue of whether PSG were actually ever forced to fend off any real interest in Verratti was raised last week, when Emery was apparently filmed by Spanish television cameras at Uefa's Elite Club Coaches Forum in Nyon telling Valverde that Barcelona "never seriously went after" the 24-year-old.
That provoked a response from Blaugrana technical secretary Robert Fernandez, who was quizzed about the issue during a post-deadline day press conference on Saturday (2 September).
"That's not true, and Unai knows it isn't because throughout these weeks I've spoken to him personally," he told reporters, per Diario AS. "He knows perfectly well that we wanted the player."
Mundo Deportivo later reported that Fernandez sternly rebuked Emery during a subsequent phone conversation heard by several others.
Emery, who worked with Fernandez during a previous stint in charge of Valencia, has now taken to social media to claim that there are no issues between the former colleagues concerning Verratti and that his exchange with Valverde was incorrectly transcribed.
"Robert and I have a great friendship which dates back to Valencia," he wrote on Twitter. "We talked about Verratti two months ago and everything was left clear.
"The false controversy has come up due to an inaccurate transcription of my chat with Valverde in Nyon, which wasn't true to what I really said in a conversation about Verratti, among other things. From there, the related reports that have appeared in recent days have no basis in reality."