ROME, ITALY - MARCH 02: Javier Pastore of US Citta di Palermo in action during a training session at Sport Center La Borghesiana on March 2, 2011 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
I have to stress that the following post is almost entirely speculation on my part. However, unlike most of the internet, I like to think my speculation is at least somewhat thoughtful. Make of it what you will.
When we were last visiting with Maurizio Zamparini and Palermo, the club was deciding whether to accept bids from Chelsea or Paris Saint-Germain for the services of Argentinian midfielder Javier Pastore. Pastore, as everyone knows, is an excellent player and, at 22, still a top prospect. Small surprise, then, that he's valued so highly, with a price tag quoted at between €35-€50M.
It's understood that both the Chelsea offer and the PSG offer are acceptable to Palermo, but that they are putting off any decision until after their European League match against Thun (which is ongoing at the time of writing). Let's take a moment to think about the various implications of that, if true.
- If Palermo would be happy with either bid, the bids are, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant but malleable.
- If Marcelo Simonian (Pastore's agent) is dong his job, he's already framed out possible personal terms with both Chelsea and PSG. Strictly speaking, this is tapping-up, but it's now commonplace.
Let's assume both are true. Pastore knows both offers that are on the table, and theoretically could simply choose between one or the other, relay his choice to Palermo, and the deal could wrap up from there. However, that's not actually a realistic approach. We've already had the negotiations between the potential purchasing teams, and now we're pushing onto a new phase - the fight between clubs to win Pastore himself over.
And if I were Simonian, what I'd do is leak the higher initial offer, which is almost certain to be PSG's on account of Middle Eastern oil barons being richer than Russian ones. Because while Chelsea and PSG know what they've offered to Pastore, they won't know what the other has put on the table. Any meetings at this point will be to show the differences between offers. My guess is that PSG's offer has leaked, as has the news Pastore would be happy to sign it, and the press is running with that.
Maurizio Zamparini has claimed that no deal is complete (and as far as anyone knows, no bid has been accepted), and that Simonian is meeting Chelsea on Friday. This would, presumably, be to see whether Chelsea are willing to make a counter-proposal after having seen PSG's offer. If they're not, Pastore goes to France. If they are, it's a different story.
Long story short, then, I think that this is all about leverage. By making it known that Pastore would sign a deal with PSG, Simonian can press for Chelsea to offer better terms in his Friday meeting. Zamparini, for his part, would see his position with PSG weakened if Chelsea were to pull out of the bidding at this point in response to today's rumours, and so it's in his best interests to say something reassuring in London's direction.
All in all, I don't know what will end up happening, but I don't consider 'Pastore signing with PSG within a few days without further fuss' to be a sensible interpretation of the information we've been presented with. This is just another stage of negotiations.