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Saturday July 16 2011
Pastore stuck with Palermo

No club will match Maurizio Zamparini's demands for Javier Pastore. Serafino Ingardia explains the limitations that keep him tied to Palermo.

Maurizio Zamparini has changed his mind again. Calcio fans have been used to the Palermo President's constant fluctuation of opinions and radical choices, but in this case his decision may have a bigger impact on this summer's calciomercato. As Zamparini claimed, Javier Pastore may remain in Sicily after all.

That is not because the Argentine starlet doesn't have any admirers of course, but the demands of the Rosanero are simply unreasonable. The €50m price tag that hangs over his head, despite being negotiable, is way above the reach of any Italian club, especially in these times of crisis.

Despite his glittering displays in Serie A, the 22-year-old talent has yet to prove himself internationally which, in addition to his hefty transfer fee, is preventing his move to foreign clubs. Furthermore, his fine form in the campionato didn't last too long, proving that El Flaco still needs a season or two to fully mature. His talent is unquestionable, but for that price buyers are understandably looking more for a fully established champion rather than a potential one.

Even with Argentina in the Copa America, Pastore is struggling to find a spot in Sergio Batista's team and Zamparini must hope something good happens in the next stages of the competition if he wishes to sell the player for a fee close to his requests. As it stands, there is little chance of seeing him anywhere other than Palermo.

In Serie A, aside from all the financial complications, Pastore would have troubles finding the right home. Under Gian Piero Gasperini, Inter will adopt a 3-4-3 strategy which doesn't require a trequartista. Juventus too play without one and Pastore could only be used as a shadow striker – it would be a huge and irresponsible gamble for the Old Lady after the failure of Diego only two years ago.

Roma don't have the budget to go for a player of his calibre yet, although Walter Sabatini, the man who brought Pastore to Italy, would love to have him. Milan could do with him, but have bigger problems to solve at the moment. Napoli would be a fascinating option but the Azzurri don't have €50m to spend, unless Aurelio De Laurentiis manages to play the same trick as Zamparini, selling his starlet Marek Hamsik for a shocking fee.

But the issue around the sale of the former Huracan player doesn't concern only his price-tag. Pastore represents for many a tactical dilemma because he is an atypical attacking midfielder. The Argentine is arguably one of the most gifted and creative players around, but is also a player who tends to move a lot and doesn't stick to the same position for all 90 minutes. As a result of that instinct, he tends to disappear for long spells.

Playing for the Rosanero last season with complete freedom of movement, he was often dragged out of position playing as a shadow striker, moving to the flank or even stepping back as a regista. That is a quality which however comes with a drawback: big clubs tend to prefer players who are constantly in the game and move in a specific part of the pitch.

One of the main problems for his teammates at Palermo was that on bad days they didn't know where to find Pastore. He worked incredibly well on a formation built around him, but for top clubs it is a really big risk to create a formation of 10 men plus Pastore, especially if it comes with a €50m fee. Given this tactical complication and the enormous demands from Palermo, Pastore's future may be tied down to Sicily until his price drops or a sheik falls in love with his amazing talent.

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