Villas-Boas homes in on Argentinian £40m star

CHELSEA are closing in on the signing of Palermo playmaker Javier Pastore, one of the most sought-after talents in the world, the Italian club said yesterday.

The Sicilian side’s vice-president Guglielmo Micciche declared it was “very probable” that Stamford Bridge would be the 22-year-old’s destination.

Pastore, who is valued at around £40m, is also thought to be interesting Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid.

“It’s very probable that Pastore will go to Chelsea, but I think there are other top-level teams who are after the player,” said Micciche.

“He wants a big club and there are advanced talks with very important teams. If someone pays the right money then we will be happy to sell him.”

New Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas has already signed goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from Genk and agreed a £5m deal for young Barcelona midfielder Oriol Romeu.

He now looks set to focus on adding a more creative presence to the core of his team, and Pastore is a more attainable target than Luka Modric, whom Tottenham are adamant is not for sale.

Villas-Boas struggled to elicit goals in his first two matches but struck a richer vein yesterday when Chelsea romped to a 4-0 pre-season win over a Thai Premier League representative side. Frank Lampard, Jose Bosingwa, Branislav Ivanovic and Florent Malouda all scored.