This summer Liverpool face the daunting prospect of trying to replace a club legend in the form of retiring centre-back Jamie Carragher.
The likes of Ashley Williams and Toby Alderweireld have both been mentioned as potentially filling that void but could it be that Liverpool had the perfect option all along; but let him go in 2007.
Gabriel Paletta arrived as a young defender, capable of playing both at left-back and centre-back, from Club Atletico Banfield in his homeland of Argentina.
Rafa Benitez snapped up the young prodigy on a four-year deal as hope was sky-high about his future in the game after he shone amongst an Argentina team containing Lionel Messi and co at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships.
However in the end the 2006-07 season was Paletta’s first and last at Anfield and he featured just five times for the club.
With the arrival of compatriot Emiliano Insua at the club Liverpool allowed Paletta to leave and he returned to Argentina to play for Boca Juniors; which is where he started demonstrating what Liverpool were missing out on.
Now and out-and-out central defender he got another crack at Europe when Italian outfit Parma came calling in 2010.
Since then he has become an undisputed starter in the Gialloblu side and this summer has been linked with several big moves; including reported interest from AC Milan in his services.
And the sheer magnitude of how much this player has progressed since being cast aside by Liverpool in 2007 is evident in the price-tag slapped on his head by the CEO of Parma Pietro Leonardi; who will clearly not be wanting to lose one of his star players:
“Whoever wants to sign Paletta has to pay €35 million,” he told reporters. “There are no negotiations about that.”
So a player Liverpool essentially discarded six years ago has now been valued as one of the most expensive defenders in the world by his club.
A fair valuation? No. It is safe to say that Parma have perhaps gone a little overboard in their valuation of their star defender in an attempt to warn off potential suitors.
This Parma team has just signed Antonio Cassano and likely feels ready to mount a European assault this season; selling their star men is not conducive to that plan.
But he is another fair warning to Premier League clubs about letting players go with such nonchalance when younger; as they might come back to bite you a little way down the line.
image: © vincentteeuwen