Although West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has only been at the helm of the Hammers for under a month he has been surprisingly quiet in the transfer market.
Following the signing of fullback Ryan Fredericks from Fulham, the Hammers boss is now eyeing up PSG midfielder Javier Pastore as the perfect candidate to aid West Ham’s midfield woes.
The Argentine, who is currently 28 years-old, would mark a significant investment by the West Ham board. The only question is, does a deal for Pastore warrant a fee upwards of £35 million and his supposed £190,000 a week wages?
South American flair
Despite plying his trade for European super-club PSG it wasn’t all glitz and glamour for the Argentinian international.
Starting his rise to the top in the Primera Division with Huracán Pastore kicked off his senior career with a 1-0 loss to Riverplate in May 2008.
However despite losing on his debut the midfielder, under the tutorage of manager Angel Cappa quickly cemented himself as one of the first names of the team sheet scoring seven and assisting three at the tender age of 19 becoming the club’s top goalscorer in the process.
With his mix of sublime dribbling, quick feet and an eye for both a goal and a killer pass Pastore was snapped up by Italian club Palermo in 2009 for £4.1 million who beat off Manchester United, Chelsea and Porto to his signature.
However, Pastore did not enjoy his first season in Italy often being described as “a promising but inexperienced youngster” and playing most of his games in his debut season coming on as a last-minute substitute from the bench.
His fortunes soon changed the following season as Pastore played a starring role in Palermo’s Europa League qualification playing just behind arguably PSG’s current star man Edinson Cavani with the pairs fine season warranting a “bigger” move to PSG and Napoli, respectively.
Life at PSG
During his seven-year stay at the Parc de Prince, Pastore has won 19 trophies and scored 29 times for Paris Saint-Germain. Yet when you consider that Pastore netted 13 of them in his first season you can tell how PSG’s current number 27 has fared in his time in Paris over the years.
In truth, Pastore has never really got over that first season in the French Capital. That may be in part to do with the constant state of change at PSG in terms of management and players with the likes of Neymar, Lucas, Draxler, and Di Maria’s transfer often limiting Pastore’s playing time as part of PSG’s attacking outlet.
It is to be noted that Pastore did net 12 assists in 2014-15 but since then his playing time at PSG has taken a nosedive. As a winger, he is often seen as too slow going forward and as a central midfielder, he often has lapses in concentration and does not fulfill his defensive duties. For Pastore, it is time to leave PSG for a new challenge abroad.
Money well spent?
At 28 years-old Pastore is currently, or should be at the prime of his powers. Yet it is doubtful that his performances would continue into his early 30’s, in truth West Ham arguably have about 2 years of Pastore at his peak should owners David Sullivan and David Gold purchase the former Palermo man.
Despite stagnating at PSG, Pastore is still a fabulous player. A clever, elegant and problematic advanced playmaker Pastore would cause havoc for the opposition defenders.
In Pellegrini’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation the Argentinian would sit just behind the striker linking up with the wingers often and effectively, and throughout the game, making runs off of a target man up front. On paper, the role looks almost perfect for Pastore who has always been a threat going forward for club and country.
Yet the deal offers West Ham significant versatility that other potential targets don’t possess with the current PSG man able to play on either wing or, in a worse case scenario as an albeit makeshift holding midfielder.
But for £35 million, plus £190,000 wages to pay per week for a 28-year-old should West Ham look elsewhere for a more surefire cheaper option?
How does he stack up?
In comparison to Jack Wilshere, who has also been linked to the Hammers to fill the advanced playmaker position Pastore stacks up favourably.
In 20 appearances the former English international has scored only once and provided only 3 assists this season, not the ideal candidate for West Ham’s “main man in midfield.”
Meanwhile, Pastore, who made 25 appearances in 2017/18 scored four times and provided five assists for the French Champions.
If Pastore replicated that in the Premier League this season it would put him on par with the likes of Manchester United Pair, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial on five assists and one behind Tottenham’s Heung Min-Son and West Ham’s current Argentinian playmaker Manuel Lanzini tied on six.
Pastore’s signature would come at quite a cost for West Ham United. But yet despite the high fee Pastore is not the finished article.
He is prone to making sloppy errors going forward, last season Pastore seemed wasteful sending the ball soaring over the crossbar rather than playing a simple pass to a teammate for a near sure-fire goal.
For a club like PSG, who score goals for fun it is no issue. But for a club like West Ham, when there is only one chance every game, this provides a significant issue.
In terms of linking up with other attacking players there may be few better than the former Palmero man, but in terms of scoring and end product, there are far more fruitful players available to West Ham at a far cheaper price.
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