PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 28: Javier Pastore (m) of Argentina's national football team contests the ball during a team training session on June 28, 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
In an ideal world for Blues fans, Javier Pastore plays for Chelsea, I think. He was a perfect fit for many of the side's needs, a piece to build the squad around for the next seven years and he's the sort of player fans could really enjoy. But we don't live in a perfect world - we live in one where monetary considerations matter, where other teams compete with us for the players we want. And it so happens that in our non-perfect world, Javier Pastore plays for Paris Saint-Germain.
It's a decision I don't fully understand, but it's one I totally respect. I enjoy Javier Pastore the player a great deal and hope he enjoys success with his new club. I'll have to pay more attention to Ligue 1 from now on. I know a lot of people are intensely annoyed at the fact that a top-class player opted to go to a second-tier league, but clearly something happened that convinced Pastore that PSG was the right move for him, and that's entirely his choice to make. As a fan of football, I wish for nothing but the best for him there, even if I'd prefer for him to have been calling Stamford Bridge home.
The fee PSG are reportedly paying Palermo is €43M. Honestly, that's much too high - about 20% more than what I'd have been happy to see the Blues shell out for him. If previous reports are to be believed, Pastore will sign a four year contract worth €18M with the club, bringing his annual price to £13,250,000ish. For comparison's sake, that's only £5M less than the hideously overpriced Fernando Torres. Losing an extra year off that deal is really rather ugly.
Anyway, that's money that Chelsea should not be paying out, no matter how good a fit Pastore was for the team. Honestly, I'm really ambivalent about the deal - the longer this went on, the more I wanted Pastore to join the club, and the more I believed that we'd be able to get him for a reasonable price - but I'm really glad that Ron Gourlay and company refused to go higher than what they thought he was worth (that's an assumption, but I think it's probably a safe one).
Still, what do you do when taking the sensible option robs you of your best opportunity to upgrade the team? Word's floating around that this may lead to an increased bid for Luka Modric, which I'd oppose for several reasons, and there are other possibilities out there as well. Wesley Sneijder's on the list; so too is Samir Nasri. There are a lot of excellent players available, and Chelsea clearly have money to spend.
At this point, I really hope that they don't rush into anything else. They've done probably the right thing in refusing to overpay for Pastore, but the squad still needs help in order to compete (I think), and I'm very worried that Chelsea will simply make a panic buy in order to patch up some holes. They need help in the middle and at least one right-sided player, but they're unlikely to find a better fit for the squad than Pastore.
I'm worried that Chelsea's management will overspend as a response to missing out on what was apparently their top transfer target, and I'd much rather have seen them pay too much for a player who the team needs than one they really don't. So, even if the team does need an upgrade, I hope nothing happens too quickly. Chelsea simply cannot afford to rush into anything.
Until we know what Chelsea's plan B is, though, it's impossible to tell whether or not they've done the right thing. If they go nuts over Modric or Sneijder though... I think there's pretty good cause to be angry.