Marco Verratti

PSG add Marco Verratti, shoot up European charts

Three weeks ago, long before the club signed Thiago Mottaand Zlatan Ibrahimovic away from AC Milan, PSG were considered fringecontenders for the 2012 – 2013 Champions League title.  According to multiple bookmakers, the Parisians faced oddsof around 28 to 1 in Europe’s flagship tournament back on July 1.

But what a difference a few weeks can make.

In odds released Wednesday morning - the same day PSG isexpected to officially announce Ibrahimovic’s signing - the French club is nolonger on the fringe.  CarloAncelotti’s team now ranks even with Juventus and ahead of AC Milan and Arsenalwith odds between 14-to-1 and 16-to-1. Across a majority of European books, PSG have the tourney’s sixth bestodds behind only Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United andChelsea.

Wednesday also offered further evidence of PSG’s rapid riseto European prominence, as the French side continued their run on Italianplayers with the signing of 19-year-old Marco Verratti from newly promotedSerie A club Pescara.  Themidfielder, who has been compared to Italian legend Andrea Pirlo, was drawinginterest from Manchester City, Juventus and Inter Milan before transferring toPSG for a reported 11 million euros ($13.4m).