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And Now We Know Why Chelsea Didn't Buy Javier Pastore

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Ok so it turns out I'm still writing about Javier Pastore transfer rumours in September, which is weird. I may have a problem. Anyway, I think everyone was pretty bemused by Pastore's decision to move to Paris Saint-Germain rather than to Stamford Bridge, especially on his reportedly low salary. There was some noise about him wanting to be a first-team player rather than squad depth, but the Guardian think they know why the Argentinian trequartista didn't arrive, and it's not for silly, mundane reasons like money.

Well, not for the money that Chelsea would pay Palermo, anyway. Instead... well, let's just say that the playmaker's transfer to Ligue 1 was highly irregular. Here's the story: Part of the deal that brought Pastore to Italy in the first place involved ceding half of his sporting rights (and thus 50% of all future transfer fees) to Marcelo Simonian and his company, Dodici Sports Management. If you recognise that name, that's because Simonian is also Pastore's agent. Hrm.

Anyway, there were clearly forces beyond football at play behind this transfer, and things are even worse than you'd think - if it had just been a greedy agent taking some of Palermo's paycheque, I don't think many would have cared - there's now a legal battle being waged in the Sicilian courts in which Palermo are arguing that the money is being extorted from them by Simonian. This is something PSG will almost certainly be dragged into, and an issue Chelsea would have taken care to avoid.

Said Guardian article also speculates that Juan Mata (and presumably Raul Meireles on top of that) was the backup plan to Pastore, so I even though I think we could have done pretty well to land him, not getting dragged into a legal battle involving Maurizio Zamparini is high on my list of summer priorities. As things stand, I'm pretty happy with what we ended up with.