For some reason the most expensive transfer that could take place this summer is that of Palermo’s Argentinean midfielder Javier Pastore. He has been linked with the majority of Europe’s top club’s as his future seemed destined to lie away from not only Palermo, but Serie A. But most people are wondering who he is, why is he worth more than Cesc Fabregas and where could he be heading?
Serie A has been in decline over the past decade; the standard of football in the league has become drab. This is unexpected from a league which once boasted one of the only places to see widespread spectacular goals and skills in the world. But recently things have stepped up a notch with a breed of exciting youngsters coming to prominence for clubs that some wouldn’t even realise were in Serie A. One such club is Palermo and one such player is Javier Pastore.
Palermo gave a young Javier Pastore a platform to show what he can do in Europe and he is set to repay them by commanding what could potentially be this summer’s biggest transfer fee. The so-called ‘smaller’ and less glamorous sides of Serie A like Palermo and Udinese have adopted business models that pick up young talent who can carry the side along and then repay the opportunity after they have developed, this is the case for Javier Pastore.
Pastore was a player that was earmarked for great things from a young age. He started out life in the youth system of Argentinean side Talleres, a working man’s team from the city of Cordoba, where he struggled to establish himself in his teenage years as a first team player before making the breakthrough in 2007 playing 5 first team games. Although Talleres are Cordoba’s most successful club, around this time they were playing in the second division of Argentinean football.
The young Pastore was sent out on loan to Huracan during the 2008 season, a team from Buenos Aires who played in the Primera Division and it was here that Pastore began to find his feet. By 2009 he was deployed to play just off a front man in a 4-1-3-2-1 formation and became a standout player for a side which earned praise for its attacking short-passing style of play of which Pastore was a lynchpin.
But this was no one man show; he was surrounded by other budding stars of the Argentinean league like centre-midfielder Mario Bolatti (who was sold by Porto a couple of years later to acquire the full rights for striker Falcao) and also the impressive attacking-midfielder Matias Defederico. It is with Defederico that Pastore formed a special understanding – all 3 players have since become full Argentinean internationals, such is their pedigree.
Huracan came runners-up in the 2009 Clausura, a great achievement for the side which highlighted the talent that was in the team. Pastore’s performances in particular stood out as he finished as the team’s top scorer chipping in with 7 goals and 3 assists in the tournament. After such stand-out performances Pastore was attracting interest from all over Europe and was rumoured to be being watched by Manchester United and Chelsea before Palermo snuck in and agreed a €6m deal for the 21-year-old. Ironically it could be these two clubs back in for him this summer.
He made his debut in at the start of the 2009/10 season and it didn’t take him long to show his talent after he was instrumental in Palermo defeating Juventus 2-0. For a while he remained a super-sub before finding his feet in a similar role to which he played at Huracan. Playing off a front two of Miccoli and Cavani he began to pull the strings and drew comparisons to Kaka because of his playing style and look and was named Serie A young player of the year 2010.
It is not just his look that is reminiscent of Kaka; Pastore is a master on the ball. He loves to play quick moving one or two touch football, especially in the last third where he can get into positions that will cause problems for the opposition. He plays with great elegance and is more a Zidane in the skill stakes than he is a Ronaldo … simplicity is genius and this boy exemplifies that. He is capable in and around the box and he can shot from long range as well as score tap ins. He has great vision and will lay it on a plate for others and has great movement, creating space and bringing teammates into play.
But no player is perfect, Pastore is quite lightweight and can lose possession too easily at times. He is not built for power and this comes across not only in the strength department but also when it comes to speed – he doesn’t burst and accelerate away with power, he is more of a smooth glider.
You can check out Pastore this summer in the Argentine Copa America squad, although not an automatic starter, you will see him feature in a highly-rated team. No moves will be happening until after the tournament, but his agent, Marcelo Simonian, could be a busy man this summer and will be looking to find his client a new club as he concludes the transfer of Arsenal target Ricky Alvarez to Inter. It will be an interesting few weeks to see where the talented midfielder turns up, one thing is for sure if he is in the Premier League we are in for a treat.
Here he is, doing what he does best: