Gabriel Paletta's mystery injury looks set to be more serious than first feared.
This summer Liverpool faced the daunting prospect of trying to replace a club legend in the form of retiring centre-back Jamie Carragher.
In the end they snapped up Mamadou Sakho of Paris Saint-Germain on top of Tiago Ilori and free transfer signing Kolo Toure - but they might have 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. However the 2006-07 season was Paletta’s first and last at Anfield and he featured just five times for 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 was linked with several big moves - including reported interest from AC Milan.
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 was clearly not ready to lose one of his star players this summer:
“Whoever wants to sign Paletta has to pay €35 million,” he told reporters. “There are no negotiations about that.”
His agent went on the warpath. Martin Guastadisegno said that his move to Milan would be a ‘dream’ and that if he is worth the whopping amount they are suggesting, then his wage packet needs to be increased proportionately…
“Playing for Milan would be a dream…€35m is certainly too high. If the club really value him that highly then his salary needs to be increased in proportion to his market value.”
So he is clearly a player with plenty of promise, and he even scored against Fulham in pre-season.
But so far, he has not yet played in Serie A this season.
The Argentine has what is described as a right thigh injury, which at first saw him ruled out until the end of this month.
But it now appears he is set to join Daniele Galoppa on the long term absentee list for the Gialloblu - as this mysterious and niggling injury struggles to clear up.
So perhaps Liverpool are not missing out too much…
image: © vincentteeuwen