After a one-year spell in Serie B, Palermo is now back in the finest Italian company. Here, they find themselves battling for tickets for next year’s European competition, and the reason for their recent success can be found in the left foot of a little Argentine named Paulo Dybala. With an impressive 2014/2015-season, this young striker has caught the eye of every top-league club in Europe and at the moment the sky is the limit for this little magician.
Who is Paulo Dybala?
Following the likes of Cavani and Pastore, Paulo Dybala is the hottest new product from the Sicilian capital. At the age of only 21, he’s having his breakthrough season at Palermo, and has currently scored 12 and assisted 7 in 23 games this season (whoscored.com). Playing up front with his striking partner, the fellow Argentinian Franco Vazquez, he’s a threat to every defence in the Serie A. In the current transfer window he was linked with several top European clubs, and he won’t be in Palermo for long if he keeps on scoring and assisting like this.
Dybala made his professional debut with his hometown club Instituto ACC at the age of seventeen in Primera B Nacional. He played 40 games as a professional at the club and managed to score 17 goals. Big European clubs were interested in the little Argentine even back then, but in the end it was Palermo who ended up signing him in the summer of 2012. After some trouble with a “fake” agent, Dybala finally signed a four-year contract with U.S. Città Palermo on 20th July 2012.
Talent Radar Accolades:
At the announcement the flamboyant Sicilian president Zamperini was quoted saying: “We have got Paulo Dybala – the new Sergio Aguero.” This was not the first nor the last time, this comparison was made.
Dybala made his debut the same fall in a Serie A match against Lazio, and scored his first and second goal in 2-0 win against Sampdoria on the 11th November 2012. During the first 2 seasons, Dybala only manage to score 8 goals in 58 matches in total, most of them coming on as a sub, but after the return to the Serie A, Dybala has finally started to show his talents. As mentioned earlier he’s had his part in 18 goals, and together with Vazquez been a major part in a so far great season for the promoted Sicilians.
Paulo Dybala was voted in 2nd place for both the Serie A Forward of the Season and Youngster of the Season by Outside of the Boot‘s readers at the 2014-15 End of Season Awards and was also named in the Team of the Season at the 2015 Talent Radar Young Player Awards. The Argentine also made it into the 2014-15 Serie A U-22 Team of the Season. He has also been a regular feature of our Talent Radar Player Rankings and Talent Radar Team of the Week.
Style of play, Strength and Weaknesses
The comparison made by Zamperini, that Dybala was the new Aguero is not totally of point. Playing up front like his fellow Argentinian, Dybala might just be the next Argentinian superstar. Dybala posses a lot of qualities, but what first comes to mind when you watch him play is his flair with the ball at his feet. He just seems to run past defenders like they weren’t even there. The reason for his beautiful flair with the ball can be found in his amazing speed and dribbling repertoire, which makes him deadly in the offensive 1v1 game. This is definitely one off his greatest attributes, and the thing that makes him a threat to every defence in the Serie A.
Another one of his great attributes is his finishing. He has a great left foot, which he likes to curl the ball into the corners of the goal with. He often finishes with a great amount of power, and from various angles giving him a total of 12 goals so far this season. The great left foot also makes him a great threat from set pieces and he has scored from both free kicks and penalties this season. His movement on and off the ball added with the addition of a great first touch, makes him the player with 3rd most shots per game in Serie A, and for a man with such great finishing skill and composure he’s likely to keep on scoring. (whoscored.com)
Besides having great individual abilities, Dybala is also a great team player. With a great vision and a unique understanding of the game Dybala has managed 7 assist this season for Palermo, and he has especially linked great with his striking partner Franco Vazquez. In the first part of the build up he is often used to lay of the ball, to keep the flow moving, but further up the field he’s used as a playmaker, taking on defenders and spreading around key passes and assist.
Dybala is player with a lot of qualities, and the weaknesses can be hard to find. Even though, one weakness for Dybala is his height (177cm) and weight (66kg), which can be problematic, if he is to move to a more physical league like Premier League or the Bundesliga. A long with him being a little lightweight, one of his weaknesses is also aerial duels, where he often finds himself on the losing side.
Dybala has expressed open that he is happy at Palermo, but also that he wants to play in the Champions League soon. He will be able to travel for free in 1,5 years, so the chances that he will be sold this summer to make some profit seems high. With his natural ability, speed and goal scoring, the whole football Europe seems to be at Zamperini doorstep, and at the moment it’s only a matter of who and how much they want to pay. The future seems bright for the young Argentinian and if he continues his development, Dybala will most likely be one of the top strikers of the world in the years to come.
Written by Morten Lanng
An ambitious and hard working football coach from Denmark. Currently studying Sport Science at the University of Århus next to being an assistent coach for the first team in the second division club Brabrand IF. He has high hopes of making coaching his primary profession, and his favourite place to do that would be at Manchester United, a club he has supported since he was a kid.
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