Much of the transfer speculation surrounding Tottenham Hotspur this summer has been regarding their prized asset and top goalscorer, Gareth Bale. However, Spurs have been targeting a number of players to improve their squad, whether or not Bale leaves - and most recently the Daily Star have linked the club with a move for Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Javier Pastore.
Where is Pastore's preferred position?
Javier Pastore is primarily a No.10 playmaker, who likes to play behind a central striker. For PSG this often meant playing in behind Ligue 1's top goalscorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who also had Ezequiel Lavezzi in support in a 4-2-2-2 formation. Next season though this might be different as the club have added Edinson Cavani to partner Ibrahimovic, meaning that Pastore might be pushed out of the side in favour of having Lucas and Lavezzi in support of the aforementioned strike duo.
Pastore is in danger of being sold because as a creator he has arguably not been effective enough since joining for such a large fee of £34 million. Indeed, he created just 39 chances for his team-mates last season, which is barely more than a chance per game. Bale on the other hand, who was a winger but also featured in a free role, created a huge 75 chances, more than two chances per game.
If we observe the areas in which Pastore created chances for his team-mates we can see where he is most effective:
Most of Pastore's creativity was apparent in behind the striker as well as in deeper areas around the centre-circle. Although he can be used out wide it's not his most comfortable position and the fact that he completed just 0.85 dribbles per game (just 36 per cent of his attempted dribbles) shows that he's not best suited to a wide role and would be most effective in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Bale, who was a menace from the right flank as well as behind the striker, completed 1.8 dribbles per game, demonstrating an obvious difference in style. Bale also created more chances from out wide as well as also being a creative presence behind the forward:
For Spurs this means that Pastore is not the sort of player who can replace the explosive and productive Bale - although that is not to say that he cannot complement him in the same starting line-up. Pastore could add that aforementioned spark to the midfield, which otherwise appears on the face of it to be a bit workmanlike.
If Andre-Villas-Boas sets up in a 4-3-3 formation he might opt for Mousa Dembele and Paulinho plus Pastore in a more advanced role to provide the spark and look to create transitions between midfield and attack. This could be particularly effective with a front three up top and Bale as the right winger looking to get on the ball and get in behind.
Pastore is a very different player to Bale but he can provide an extra dimension to the Spurs midfield as a more creative presence - something they've lacked since Luka Modric left the club for Real Madrid last summer.
Conceivably he could add a new dimension to the Spurs midfield in a 4-3-3 alongside Paulinho and Dembele (or Sandro) which would have a good blend of aggression, defensive nous and creativity. Pastore however cannot be seen as a replacement for Bale as he is not a natural wide player, as displayed above, and is more of a No.10.