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Scout Report: Javier Pastore (Palermo)

Last week it was Miralem Pjanic, who might well tear Liverpool apart in the Champions League. Now the focus falls on Javier Pastore, a South American arrival in Italy who looks set for big things…

Ready for lift-off: Pastore announced his arrival with Huracan last season

Ready for lift-off: Pastore (c) announced his arrival with Huracan last season

Position: Attacking midfielder

Age: 20

Clubs: Talleres de Colombia, Huracan, Palermo

Young attacking midfielder Javier Pastore is another in a long line of creative Argentinians to travel to Europe and ply their trade in Italy.

Pastore joined Palermo, capital city of Sicily, in the summer for a reported fee of $8 million, after a scintillating season in domestic football with surprise package Huracan. The 20-year-old was a vital cog as ‘el Globo’ made a valiant challenge for their first title in 35 years.

They eventually finished second behind Velez Sarsfield, but Pastore was nevertheless voted player of the season by the Argentinian sports daily Ole in what was an impressive individual campaign.

Courted by some of the giants of European football over the summer, including Manchester United and FC Porto, Pastore eventually decided to sign with Palermo, who had long been interested in the player. The move was complicated by the midfielder’s contract status — Huracan orchestrated their original move of Pastore from junior club Talleres de Colombia by selling 55% of the player’s economic rights to an investment group and leaving Talleres with the remaining 45% (the move was technically a long-term loan).

Many of the big clubs were put off by this situation, on that is becoming increasingly prevalent in South American football. But not Palermo, who believed the 6’2” attacker’s combination of agility, technical proficiency and creativity was worth spending a sizeable amount of to tie down to a five-year contract, one that should see him remain at the club until 2014.

Pastore — who’s nickname is ‘el Flaco’ (the skinny) due to his tall but whippet-like frame — has been regularly described as the Argentinian version of Kaka, and has made no attempt to distance himself from such comparisions:

“I study Kaka’s movements and try to gain inspiration from his style of play,” the Cordoba-born maestro said. “I hope to become like him.”

Profile: Pastore's reputation should only grow now he is Serie A

Profile: Pastore's reputation should only grow in Serie A

Like the Real Madrid star, Pastore is a deceptively quick midfielder, at his most threatening when bursting up field to support his strikers. With an eye for a pass and a sublime touch, Pastore is a frequent provider of assists for his team-mates.

If he finds himself in front of goal, however, he also has the composure to slot the ball home (he scored eight goals in 31 appearances last season)

If there is one criticism of the youngster it is that he is too reliant on his right foot — a weakness that might well be exposed by the savvy defenders of Serie A. Similarly, the Rosanero No. 6 is not much of a defensive presence, lacking the sort of aerial presence that might be expected of someone with his heigh.

Nevertheless, Pastore has already picked up compliments in Italy, notably from compatriot and Inter Milan stalwart Javier Zanetti:

“I managed to see Pastore play in Argentina and I instantly became a fan,” Zanetti said.

“He is a special player and tactically very aware. The boy knows how distribute the ball extremely well and is an intelligent player.

“Pastore is still very young and given that he has only recently arrived in Italy, it is sure to be a transitional year for him. It takes time to adapt to the Italian game, but I’m sure he won’t take too long.”

Pastore’s performances have been mixed in his early appearances in Palermo’s distinctive pink, but he has shown glimpses of the prodigious talent that led some pundits to call for Palermo head coach Walter Zenga to build the team around him.

And with national boss Diego Maradona’s willingness to search far and wide for members of his squad something that has been widely publicised, a quick adaptation to life in Europe might see Pastore become a surprise inclusion for Argentina’s World Cup squad.

The youngster has yet to make his international bow, but even if next summer’s tournament is too soon for him, such an honour is surely just a matter of time.

“He’s only just made it into the first team at club level,” Pastore’s Huracán coach, Ángel Cappa, was always keen to point out. “His time will come.”

Indeed it will.

Watch the highlights of a stellar season for Pastore at Huracan:

October 20, 2009 - Posted by | Sport, World Football | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Report: David de Gea (Atletico Madrid) The focus shifts from attacking midfielder Javier Pastore to one of the most hotly tipped young goalkeepers in the world, Atletico Madrid prodigy (and […]

    Pingback by Scout Report: David de Gea (Atletico Madrid) « Catch Seventy7 | October 28, 2009 | Reply

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