On the site we have made quite a big deal recently out of Parma defender Gabriel Paletta.
The Argentine was once a Liverpool player arriving as a young defender, capable of playing both at left-back and centre-back, from Club Atletico Banfield in his homeland of Argentina.
Snapped up by Rafa Benitez, the young prodigy had shone amongst an Argentina team containing Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships.
However the 2006-07 seasons 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.
Nowadays he is the Gialloblu’s team captain and the centre of much transfer speculation in recent months.
AC Milan are said to be very interested in the player - but Parma rate the player at a hefty valuation of €35 million. This valuation was dubbed as ‘crazy’ by the player’s agent Martin Guastadisegno last month:
“Playing for Milan would be a dream… That’s crazy [the valuation]. That price is outside the parameters of the current market and I’ll speak with Leonardi [Parma director general] about that next week when I arrive in Italy.’’
But while that transfer now seems dead Paletta is preparing for the new season with Parma - and returned to England yesterday to take on Fulham at Craven Cottage.
He put in a star performance, with his defending prompting the commentator for Parma TV to declare ‘Mamma Mia Paletta!’
He also scored, heading home an Antonio Cassano back-post-delivery beyond Maarten Stekelenburg.
Should Liverpool have kept hold of him?
image: © Tom Cuppens