PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 13: Argentina's head coach Diego Maradona talks with Javier Pastore during a team training session on June 13, 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Javier Pastore is an interesting name for us to look at today. We've been linked to a host of "creative" midfielders so far this silly season, with Pastore likely being the most expensive of the lot. As Graham showed us earlier today, AVB has made some comments that imply he'd like to be quite fun to watch:
It's not just about winning, but winning with a certain amount of flair. Everyone likes attacking football. If you see the technical staff in front of me, and my appointment of Roberto [di Matteo], these are people who like the quality of the game and have a philosophy. The Premier League has a certain amount of goals in every game and it should be an entertaining game for the fans and that is what we will look to do.
Palermo president Maurizimo Zamparini was also attributed with comments regarding an "unnamed" foreign club's interest in Pastore today:
I can also confirm that a foreign club made me a €50m offer yesterday [Tuesday]
There is only a 10% chance that he will stay with us," Zamparini said. "At the moment he is in Argentina preparing for the Copa America and his agent is evaluating three or four offers - but none from Italian sides.
The player himself has no preference over his next destination. At the moment he is calmly just waiting for us to give him news.
With these sets of comments in mind, after the jump looks to be an excellent place to take a closer look at Pastore.
Pastore is a 6'2" Argentinian midfielder who just turned 22 last week. He was Palermo's leading goalscorer last year with 14 goals in all club competitions. Here's a beauty of a scouting report from IMS, who's stuff is outstanding but usually not free (lucky us, although this is a few years old). The scouting report does an excellent job of summing up what Pastore brings to the table, and it's worth noting that he's improved greatly in the air (although he's still not fantastic) since he was 19.
Here's a little video of Pastore in action from this season:
It's a fun little highlight reel to watch, and it does a nice job of showing off his shooting touch and ball skills. Not that you can gather too much from a YouTube clip, but Pastore is an awfully fun player to watch. He's still raw though, and prone to the occasional Ramires-like miscue from early on this season. Training regularly with top players would likely do wonders for his consistency. Here's a second clip from the prior season:
Once again, he's fun to watch if nothing else. So where would Pastore fit with Chelsea? He's probably strongest as an advanced central midfielder, although he's also quite capable of playing as a supporting striker or even on the right or left wing. That looks like a pretty good fit to me, as he'd work well in basically any combination of a 4-2-3-1, 4-3-2-1, 4-4-2, or 4-3-3 that we could run out. At 22, he'd also likely have value for at least two five year contracts. With his height, he ought to be able to adapt well to the Premier League.
Personally, I'm a big Pastore fan. I really think he's a guy we ought to be targeting, but he's clearly not going to be cheap. I'm of the opinion that the lowball offer for Modric likely had something to do with making it public that we had other options more than a genuine belief that we could get him at that price. I'm really hoping that this youngster is one that we manage to bring to SW6, even if the suggested price looks to be a little steep. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.