There are very few promising 21-year-olds on the transfer market whom I'd like to avoid at all costs. Chelsea's financial stability is built around buying young and exploiting the inefficiencies in the market; adding to our stockpile of talent is almost always a good thing. But sometimes there are enough red flags to run away from any sort of deal. And being associated with Maurizio Zamparini constitutes a whole semaphore line's worth of flags.
We should therefore read the news that Palermo's Argentinian forward Paulo Dybala, linked to a move to Stamford Bridge for months, is set to join Serie A champions Juventus on a move ‘thought to be worth more than £30million’ (so says the Mail) with something approaching relief. Dybala is of course a very good player and for reasonable money I'd be more than happy to see him join up, but dealing with Palermo and their bombastic owner is one of the most painful experiences in football, and the money Zamparini was demanding in exchange for the youngster was enough to cancel out most of the reasons for buying young in the first place.
If you followed that link to the Mail above, you'll have encountered the following line, which is actually quite good to bear in mind whenever you're reading a story about a big-money transfer involving us:
Zamparini had been keen to generate interest from England to force up the price but Juventus have always been the favourites to land the transfer.
Remember that we're useful bogeymen in situations like this, tools to try to force other clubs to move in quicker and higher. And this goes in the reverse direction as well. Transfer stories are a mixture of gossip and public negotiation, and should always be treated as such. The Dybala deal, therefore, is not wrapped up. But that we sound a little farther away that we did last time we checked in is probably good news.