There is nothing the football fans of France love more than a creative No. 10 – from Zinedine Zidane and Michel Platini to Mathieu Valbuena and the resurgent Javier Pastore who could be the perfect winter signing for Arsenal in January.
After a wonderful start to his career in France, Pastore spent the last two seasons wallowing on the Paris Saint-Germain bench, but now he career in the French capital seems to have taken a positive turn.
In the opening four games, the Argentine has provided two assists and averaged 2.5 key passes per game. Marco Verratti is the only player in Ligue 1 to see more of the ball than Pastore, the Italian makes 120.3 passes per game, and Pastore is on 104.3 per game.
Verratti always has two assists this season, and the deep-lying playmaker is going a great job creating as part of PSG’s midfield trio.
With the late return to the squad of Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi to the squad after the World Cup, Pastore is taking advantage of the extra game time.
His attitude is more positive this season, he looks like he is enjoying his football, but there is still a chance that given an opportunity of being a team’s star, he would make a move this winter.
Another player taking advantage of his side missing players is Lyon’s impressive midfielder Jordan Ferri. The 22-year-old leads the league in assists this season, three in four games and he is just behind Pastore with an average of two key passes per game.
With Clement Grenier and Yoann Gourcuff out injured, young Ferri has continued to develop his game. He can play the long ball with accuracy, but has the drive and determination to push the game forward and create around the 16-yard box.
Diego of Stade de Reims, Rennes’ Pedro Henrique and Lille’s Ryan Mendes all have two assists each, but each of them average either one or less key passes per game. Given more of the ball and more decisive forwards ahead of them, they could end up with over 10 assists each this season.
Playmakers in France are often tarnished with the “next-Zidane” tag, but if players like Ferri continue on this road, he will start to attract more and more high-profile sides in the next nine months.