Liverpool fans… remember Gabriel Paletta. You would be forgiven for looking up to the heavens returning to your keypad and shaking your head because it would be fair to say that the Argentine defender did not exactly make a big impact at Anfield.
He signed a pre-contract deal for Liverpool on the 15th February 2006 not long after Rafa Benitez had also agreed to bring in Daniel Agger and Jan Kromkamp; both of whom had varying levels of success on Merseyside.
He cost £2 million from Argentinian outfit Banfield and at just 20-years-old was one of many young players brought in by Benitez in a short period of time; including the likes of Momo Sissoko, Scott Carson plus the tragically late Miki Roque and Beslan Idrizaj.
So what ever happened to this hot prospect?
Well he scored. He grabbed a goal against Reading in the League Cup Third Round in 2006 but he only ever made eight appearances for the club; most of which came as a substitute.
But in the end it was the arrival of another Argentine, Emilliano Insua, that put paid to his Liverpool career and he was shipped out to Boca Juniors after just eighteen months.
He soon transformed himself into an out-and-out centre back in his homeland and after three successful years in Buenos Aires returned to Europe in 2010 with Italian side Parma.
Now he is starting to look like a player who might have slipped through the cracks at the club.
This season has been his real breakthrough year. Performing superbly at the heart of Parma’s defence he has helped steer the club to a safe mid-table position this campaign. Such form has seen him linked with numerous clubs forcing him to state his intentions to remain at Parma:
“My future? I want to stay here. I am only thinking about Parma and then we will see what happens.”
That is not the only decision he has been forced into making recently. He is currently at the centre of an international tug-of-war as the country of his birth Argentina has rivals in Italy in regards to international football representation.
He qualifies for Italy through heritage and it is widely reported that Cesare Prandelli is considering testing his loyalty to Albiceleste with a call-up at the end of the season.
With Jamie Carragher retiring perhaps Brendan Rodgers might even consider having a look at him as well this summer?
What are your memories of Gabriel Paletta?
image: © vincentteeuwen