As all of you know, Chelsea are battling it out with Paris Saint-Germain to sign Palermo's Javier Pastore. I've written about seven articles in the past 24 hours on it, in fact. The current belief amongst the wider world is that he's almost certain to sign with PSG, although I, possibly a fit of self-delusion, think that any leak is probably a negotiating trick spun by Pastore's agent, Marcelo Simonian.
What can PSG offer that Chelsea cannot? They're playing in the Europa League this season. Ligue 1 is undoubtedly lower in overall quality than the Premier League. Leaving aside the cultural differences between Paris and London for those better suited to analysing such things than I, there's only a couple of thing left.
1. Money. The Qatar Investment Authority have recently bought a controlling stake in the Parisian side, which means that they theoretically have a nigh-on infinite pot of gold to throw at things, should they feel like it. At least for a few years. PSG could offer Pastore a silly amount of money.
2. Winning. Related to point one - PSG could now rather easily bag several Ligue 1 titles in the next few seasons by simply outspending thier competition. If Pastore want to wins trophies, PSG seems as good a place as any. Of course, when people say 'I want to win trophies, they typically mean that they want to win trophies that actually take some effort to obtain. Otherwise he might as well play far an MLS side and win league MVP for the next decade.
I think that just leaves money. So, what are PSG prepared to offer Pastore that Chelsea can't bear to match?
PSG contract offer to Pastore of €5m a year for five years. Highest in France by a margin. #cfc
€5M a year seems like a lot of money, doesn't it. Until, of course, you translate that to a weekly salary. In pounds. Then you get £85,000 a week, which in the Premier League typically nets you a player somewhere between good and great. For a Blues-related point of reference, that's also half of a Fernando Torres.
There might be some tax stuff that I'm missing, but I'm pretty sure the EU has standardised those laws, so whatever. The tax situation helps PSG a little here - the true equivalent wage for Pastore in the UK would be a touch over £100,000 a week. Again, though, that's not something we should be especially concerned that Chelsea would fail to meet.
Call me crazy - and I know Chelsea are trying to keep their wage bill down in the face of financial fair play - but this doesn't seem like the sort of price that would take Pastore out of Chelsea's grasp. At all. And when something doesn't make sense... well, it might just be nonsense, mightn't it?