At 21 years old Palermo’s Javier Pastore has the footballing world at his feet. ‘El Flaco’ or ‘the skinny one’ has delighted crowds across Italy with his ability with the ball, grace and vision, and excellent performances internationally for Sergio Batista’s Albiceleste have made the Argentinian one of the hottest prospects in the game.
The South American moved to Palermo for a fee of around €6 million after impressing with Argentine Primera Division side Huracan in 2008-09, and the 6″ 2′ midfielder has not looked back, making over 60 appearances for the Serie A club, improving week on week and regularly making sports news headlines for his excellent performances.
It appears that his time at the Sicilian club may be up this summer, as club president Maurizio Zamparini has admitted that he cannot stand in the young starlet’s way should one of the big clubs come knocking, which they inevitably will if the deluge of transfer rumours are anything to go by.. The Renzo Barbera club will not let their prize asset go for peanuts though; a fee of at least €35 million is the realistic value of one of world football’s brightest stars.
So what are Pastore’s options? If he decides to stay in Italy the most likely destination is either Roma or Juventus, with both clubs being linked with a summer move for the creative player. Despite being two of Italian football’s biggest clubs, the sizeable transfer fee may be a stumbling block for both sides. I Giallorossi have recently been taken over by American business tycoon Thomas DiBenedetto, who may inject transfer funds into the club to try and get them back amongst Italy’s elite. Juve have had well publicised financial difficulties over the last two seasons, and despite the club planning a squad revamp in the summer, a large chunk, if not all of La Vecchia Signora’s transfer kitty would need to splurged to bring Pastore to Turin. The key fact that may force the Argentinian to shun both clubs: neither are likely to be playing Champions League football next season.
If El Flaco decides to leave Italian shores, Spain or England will be the only destination. Both sides at either end of El Clasico have been linked with a move for the rangy midfielder, with Pastore having adequate quality to fit into either squad. Los Blancos already have their fair share of attacking midfielders in the shape of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and the very impressive Mesut Oezil, but this is unlikely to deter Florentino Perez, as the club are known for overindulging in attacking luxuries. The Camp Nou would seem a more logical home for Pastore however, who is friends with international team-mate Lionel Messi. The Catalan giants will look to bring in only the best to bolster their squad in the summer, with the Palermo man high on their wishlist.
In England only Manchester City or Chelsea have the resources to tempt Palermo to sell, and it is unlikely that the Argentinian would move to Eastlands. Stamford Bridge would hold more appeal however, and Pastore could be the creative shot in the arm The Blues need to reignite their misfiring strikeforce and lead them to the all-elusive Champions League title.
I Rosanero fans will be sad to see their darling leave in the summer but Signor Zamparini will be a wealthy man come his exit. Every club in Europe would like to have him at their disposal, but for the latest exciting Argentinian playmaker, Barcelona or Chelsea seem the most plausible destinations.