Over the past six months, Palermo’s Paulo Dybala has been regularly linked with a move to England, with Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United the most likely mooted destinations. Though those whispers largely dried up as the January window approached, that didn’t stop fans hoping that perhaps the club were quietly at work putting a deal in place.
According to Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini, though, the player isn’t for sale—at least not right now. And when, in the summer, he might be, he would cost upwards of €40M. It’s a downright exorbitant fee to set for a player who despite his promise and a solid season in Serie A remains largely potential, and who might not even be the best young Argentine striker playing in Europe right now.
"Dybala is worth over €40M but I wouldn’t even think of selling him until June," said Zampari in an interview on Italian radio earlier this week. "Many foreign clubs have asked about him, including Manchester United. I’ve told them all he’s not for sale right now, but we can talk about it again in six months. In my view, he is the best striker in Europe at the moment."
Zampari might rate the young striker highly, but if he sticks to that valuation, not only will Dybala not be sold this January—he won’t be sold in the summer, either. Even just sticking with young strikers, it’s clear that Dybala isn’t the best in Europe. That honour would go to Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette, who has been scoring at a near goal a game pace.
Even amongst young Argentines, it isn’t clear that Dybala is any better at present or as a prospect than Mauro Icardi or Luciano Vietto. At present, it’s Vietto who has the best numbers, with a goal every 122 minutes and an 18% strike rate. Icardi has a goal every 130 minutes and a 16% strike while Dybala nets once every 170 minutes and has a 15% strike rate.
All are quality prospects, but there is little about Dybala—either when it comes to the underlying numbers or to his movement, work rate, and game intelligence—to put him clearly ahead of his fellow countrymen amongst young striker prospects playing in Europe. Certainly there’s nothing to justify a €40M price tag, and at present the only young striker who might command such a fee is Lacazette.
In any case, with Palermo’s president publicly stating the player isn’t for sale this month—and that when he might be available the fee it would take to get him would see any club pay well over the odds—it seems time for fans to put away any hopes of landing Dybala any time soon.