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Messi wants Cristian Pavón at Barcelona, agent talking with Chelsea, Arsenal, too — reports

Speedy winger could play opposite Hazard

Argentina v Haiti - International Friendly Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

While Chelsea’s midfield, centre back and even goalkeeper positions are main areas of concern as we move into the summer transfer window, the team could certainly use another wing-forward to play opposite Eden Hazard, especially if 13-goal Willian moves on to Manchester United as he’s increasingly expected to do so.

An ideal replacement for Willian would be someone of similar skillset and potential, but a fair bit younger than the current Player’s Player of the Year’s 29 years of age. A potential swap for Anthony Martial has many excited, but along similar lines could be interest in another 22-year-old, Argentina international Cristian Pavón.

If you haven’t heard of Pavón, perhaps all you need to know is that he comes with the highest of recommendations, from his international teammate Lionel Messi, who’s called the Boca Juniors star his “new partner” for the Albiceleste.

Understandably, Barcelona are thus in the running and probably have the inside track locked down. Some talks may or may not have occurred already.

But there’s no good transfer rumor without additional players to add some drama, and so enter Arsenal (who had been linked last summer, too) and a third wheel in Chelsea (who are linked for the first time).

Argentinian sports radio show host (reporter? journalist?) Luis Fregossi claims that Pavón’s representative met with people from Chelsea and Arsenal on Tuesday. This follows earlier claims that PSG had been interested and also that Boca are looking for a replacement.

Pavón is a speedy winger who can play on either the right or the left. In 31 appearances for Boca, he scored 7 goals and notched 17 assists, barely missing a minute all season. He did basically the same last season as well (9+8), winning the Argentinian Primera both times. Along the way he’s earned himself a handful of caps — never a mean feat given the wealth of attacking talent available for the Albiceleste. He’s been selected for their World Cup squad and that’s where Messi’s recommendation comes in.

He’s under contract to Boca Juniors through 2022 however, and, if reports are to be believed, has a €33m release clause. Boca are said to be negotiating a new contract with him, if only to raise his buyout to €50m.

How much should we believe all of this? That’s an open question. As always, if a player has a hot World Cup then he’s sure to see a lot of demand for his services. On the other hand, it’s impossible to dismiss the possibility that this is the work of his agent, who wants to spark interest in his client or (and these are not mutually exclusive options) leverage a better deal out of Boca.

Silly season? Genuine interest? We’ll probably have to wait until after the World Cup to find out.

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