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Liverpool, Arsenal, and Juventus Target Will be Sold This Summer

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Palermo’s owner says Paulo Dybala will be sold this summer, but with a €40M price tag it’s far from clear if anybody’s really interested or if an owner who's overvalued his asset is trying to start a bidding war.

Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Palermo striker Paulo Dybala is one of the most promising young talents currently plying their trade in Europe. The 21-year-old has scored 13 goals and added 10 assists in 30 appearances for the Serie A club, and with the Rosenero mired in mid-table, most had assumed he would be moving on come the summer. The club’s owner has now confirmed as much, telling Tuttosport that Palermo plan on cashing in.

They Italians may not even wait until the transfer window opens—or even until the season ends—before they line up a deal, though with it appearing as though a bidding war is the goal, few should be surprised if it takes a little longer than owner Maurizio Zamparini is suggesting. It’s also worth remembering Zamparini has been sticking to his price of €40M for some time, a hefty fee that could slow down any potential negotiations.

"We plan to sell Dybala, maybe even by the end of April," Zamparini insisted, fulfilling the role of chief auctioneer for his club’s talented young striker in a conversation with Tuttosport this week. "But I expect to get the best deal possible. I want 40 million, and Juventus has only proposed 35. In Italy, Juventus and Roma are the teams most interested in him, and he would certainly help them, but there are also foreign clubs in the mix."

In recent months, PSG, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal have all been linked to the player, as have Serie A sides Juventus, Roma, Inter Milan, and Napoli. In every case, it has appeared the links have originated on the Palermo end, and it is far from clear if all of those clubs are in fact seriously chasing Dybala or if it’s a case of Zamparini needing to sell and desperately trying to drive up his price with whoever truly is interested.

Certainly Dybala is a talent, and his goal return suggests he isn’t far off the finished product. However, his 12% strike rate is mildly underwhelming when compared to other young stars like Luciano Vietto, Mauro Icardi, and Alexandre Lacazette who are all rumoured to be available—in the case of Vietto and Icardi, for far less. Dybala is clearly a talent, but he isn’t clearly better than other young strikers who may be for sale.

Icardi has been rumoured to be available for around €30M, and with a 20% strike rate and a goal every 150 minutes—Dybala gets a goal every 200 minutes he’s on the pitch to go with his 12% strike rate—seems the more polished finisher. Vietto, due to a release clause, could end up costing as little as €20M, and at 21 years of age he has a 17% strike rate and goal every 140 minutes in the more uptempo Spanish top flight.

Lacazette would cost as much as Dybala, but the 23-year-old Frenchman has had arguably the best season of any striker in Europe’s top five leagues, scoring a goal every 100 minutes he’s on the pitch and netting 27 times for Olympique Lyon in 33 appearances. There may be questions about whether he can sustain such heady numbers, but at the €40M both are rumoured to be available for there’s only striker most would consider—and it isn’t Dybala.

It’s clear at this stage that Dybala is for sale. It also seems clear that Palermo are struggling to get the kind of money for him they want and are trying to publicly drum up interest. What’s far from clear is whether any of the clubs being linked to him are actually all that interested. And at the price Zamparini is trying to get it really is hard to imagine why any club that was wouldn’t just end up looking elsewhere instead.