Javier Matías Pastore is, in my opinion, a player who could become a very prominent figure in world football over the coming years. I understand that some of you may already know who he is, but for those of you who don’t, he is a strong, attack- minded midfielder who currently plays for Palermo in Serie A. However, it seems inevitable that the 22 year-old will soon be moving on to bigger and better things, quite possibly this summer, as Palermo’s rather outspoken owner Maurizio Zamparini claimed there is a 99% chance of “El Flaco” leaving the Sicilian outfit.
Pastore signed for Palermo in the summer of 2009 from Argentine club Huracán and had a solid debut season, but it was in 2010/11 where he really made an impact, with 11 goals – including a stunner against Bologna, and 4 assists. Whilst claiming that Pastore is almost certain to leave the club this summer, Zamparini has also placed a £40m price tag on his prized asset’s head, meaning any buyer will have to spend big to land him. This narrows down the potential suitors of Pastore to the usual suspects in the shape of AC Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City, although recently there were rumours that newly-rich Malaga had lodged a bid for him.
Whichever team he goes to, it seems to me that Pastore has all the attributes to become one of the best midfielders in the world. Last season in Serie A, a league considered to be of a defensive and technical style, Pastore challenged the norm with his pacey attacking displays. He seems to have an uncanny way of moving from box to box very quickly indeed without looking like he’s even trying that hard. That is a sign of what separates a good player from a great player, the ability to play the game at their own pace and dictate the rhythm of a match.
As well as his supreme athleticism, nine times out ten when he receives the ball Pastore will drive forward into the oppositions final third, a trait that has caught plenty of Serie A defences by surprise, seeing as they’re used to slow and careful build up play. These three factors, speed, strength and forward thinking, suggest he is ideally suited to the Premier League, where a good engine and offensive instinct are necessities, particularly for midfielders.
He is exactly the type of player that Chelsea are in need of, someone who can inject power and pace into a midfield that is slowly but surely declining. The Blues seem unsure of whether they really want to press ahead with their pursuit of Tottenham’s Luka Modric, who in my humble opinion is a touch overrated, just 3 league goals last season, and with the Croatian likely to command a fee upwards of £35m, his cost is unlikely to differ too much from Pastore’s.
It remains to be seen where he will be plying his trade next season, but without question, Javier Pastore is one to watch.
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