Marco Verratti hasn't got his desired move away from Paris Saint-Germain. Not yet, at least. The Italy midfielder has long been a stalwart of the Parisians' XI, but when a number of Saudi Pro League clubs reached out to PSG enquiring about a potential move, the player's head was turned immediately.
Verratti hasn't made a matchday squad this season, and seems almost certain to have played his last match at Parc des Princes. It is a matter of when — not if — he jets off to the Middle East, either to Saudi Arabia or Qatar.
Replacing, or perhaps replicating, his impact on the club will be no easy feat. Here is perhaps the best midfielder in the club's recent history, a European Championship winner, with nine Ligue 1 titles to his name, publicly anointed as 'successor' to Andres Iniesta by the man himself.
But rather than reach out into the transfer market, and dip into their apparently bottomless nation-state-funded piggy bank, PSG have looked inward for a replacement. Their only midfield signing this summer has been a defensive option in Manuel Ugarte, a hard tackler who is at his worst when asked to dribble.Instead, they have turned to the jewel of their academy, handing Warren Zaire-Emery Verratti's position in the line-up.
The 17-year-old has been given a chance to impress for one of the world's biggest clubs, and, so far, it has been a masterstroke in the early days of new manager Luis Enrique's reign.