Javier Pastore 22 Midfielder Paris St Germain
If Neymar is the hottest property on this list then Pastore, a man with his big move already secured, might just be the most exciting. A thoroughly modern footballer with the complete box of tricks at his disposal, as with the Brazilian striker, it’s also fair to say the sky is the limit.
Wonderfully elegant, capable of the sublime, Pastore's performances for Palermo prompted club president Maurizio Zamparini to proclaim that he was worth 100 million euros. In truth PSG ‘merely’ had to find forty, but even with that price tag Pastore may yet prove a bargain. Part of a genuine revolution in Paris, he may well become the creative heartbeat of a side willing to indulge him, rather than be forced to ‘fit in’ with a system that doesn’t play to his strengths.
Internationally Pastore is on the scene but currently a casualty of the wealth of talent available to Alejandro Sabella - just how do you accommodate Pastore, Messi, Tevez, Aguero, Lavezzi and Higuian in Argentina’s attack to name but six options available? (we won’t mention Piatti, Milito, Lamela, Lopez…damn!) Slowly he’s forcing his way into the picture, and could eventually be the player others have to revolve around.
So a special talent indeed but one with a difficult path ahead. Expectations are extremely high, his growth at Palermo was epic - can Pastore repeat that pattern at PSG? So far he’s started sluggishly, but has occasionally found his feet both creatively and in front of goal. Much of PSG’s success this season will lie at those feet and the weight of responsibility will have never felt heavier. So far the signs are that he’s halfway to carrying the load long term, but we remain confident that Pastore will be terrorising the Champions League next year and beyond.
A future best player in the world? Potentially. A future best player in the world in his position? Almost definitely. Sit back, be patient and enjoy the ride.
“His move to PSG took a few by surprise, but if he carries on as well as he's started there it will only help his chances of breaking into the Argentine national team more regularly, which must surely be his aim between now and the next World Cup” – Sam Kelly (Hasta El Gol Siempre)
“Potentially the world's best player, but needs the side built around him. French football might suit him, and hopefully Paris will appreciate what an arty, clever player he is” – Michael Cox (Zonal Marking)
B Genuinely exciting, just how good can you be?