Numerous European clubs are monitoring the Argentina international’s situation in the French capital, where he has endured the most testing season of his career to date.
It’s going to be an interesting summer, but it’s not yet clear whether it will be a successful one for Paris Saint-Germain.
While there is the prickly case of Marquinhos to consider, the Parc des Princes side must also discuss the future of Javier Pastore. For the first time since arriving from Palermo in 2011 for a fee in the region of €42 million, the Argentine is considering which direction his career should take.
Until now, ‘Flaco’, as he is known in the dressing room, has not considered leaving Paris. But the 2015-16 season has been his most complicated since turning professional with Talleres in Argentina, and this has given rise to some doubts in his head.
It’s a dramatic change of tack after agent Marcelo Simonian told Goal at the end of 2015 that “Pastore loves his life in Paris and is not thinking about leaving the city”.
But the Cordoba-born player was moved out of his apartment facing the Eiffel Tower to a more spacious home in Neuilly-sur-Seine, which has given cause for the 26-year-old to consider his future.
It has been a difficult campaign because of injuries, too. Numerous physical problems have restricted Pastore to just 12 starts, with conjunctivitis and calf problems in each leg hampering the midfielder. These are worries that are added to by the recent paternity of the player, whose opportunities to sleep and recover have therefore become shorter.
Pastore’s doubts have reached the ears of the decision-makers at some of Europe’s biggest clubs. First in line is Giuseppe Marotta, the director general of Juventus. “Is Pastore a player we like? There are always great players who play for the best clubs, and I wish to underline that he’s a PSG player. We don’t know if the club would be happy to sell him,” he said.
Goal understands that the Turin side have not yet made a concrete approach for the player, who they also chased in the summer of 2015. A greater target for Juventus is Edinson Cavani, who is being lined up in case Real Madrid invoke their buy-back option on Alvaro Morata.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of PSG, is a fan of Pastore’s and does not see the Argentine leaving as a transfer window that threatens to be tense approaches.
Other rumours have suggested an interest from Chelsea, but incoming coach Antonio Conte would prefer to concentrate his efforts on the recruitment of a more defensively-minded midfielder.
Pastore is a player considered to be mentally tough within PSG’s ranks, but he continues to have a strained relationship with head coach Laurent Blanc. This is nothing now: since the former France boss replaced Carlo Ancelotti in 2013, the pair have not enjoyed an idyllic relationship.
Shortly before Pastore’s injury problems started in October, Blanc said of the player: “The first thing the media say about Pastore is that he must play, that things become easier with him, that he brings a better technical level to the team, but you must not forget that when I first arrived two years ago he was often criticised.
“In my first six months, he was very good, but thereafter he was criticised and he did not start, only playing intermittently. He’s also had some difficulties with me.”
It’s clear these difficulties have not been resolved. Pastore, like several players, has reproached Blanc due to a lack of tactical work and his failure to explain certain decisions. A starter at the outset of the campaign, the Argentine had hoped to seal a regular place in the XI, so he did not understand it when he was pushed to the bench for the big matches.
Last Saturday’s Coupe de la Ligue victory over Lille, in which he scored, was the first major match he has started this season. This has been the catalyst for the difficult relations with Blanc, giving rise to suggestions that he may depart in the summer.