Palermo prepares to cash in on its jewel Paulo Dybala

Palermo fans will get one of their last chances to admire the talent of Paulo Dybala in Sunday’s home match with Atalanta as the Sicilian club prepare to cash in on their latest find.

Maurizio Zamparini, Palermo’s flamboyant president, has said that he has a number of potential buyers for Dybala, a striker he has previously compared to Sergio Aguero and described as a “jewel.”

After a subdued opening two seasons at the club, the 21-year-old has burst into life this term, scoring 13 goals, including several masterpieces, and repaying Zamparini for the bold investment he made three years ago.

Zamparini coughed up around 12 million euros (13.59 million US dollars) for Dybala in 2012, raising more than a few eyebrows considering that the player was a frail 18-year-old who had only played for Cordoba-based Insituto in the second tier of Argentine football.

Dybala intially struggled to make the step up to Serie A and managed only three goals in his first season, two of them in one game against Sampdoria, as Palermo were relegated.

The next season in Serie B was little better and fans wondred if Zamparini, who had previously struck gold with Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore, had this time miscalulated.

This season, however, has been a different story with Dybala guiding Palermo to joint 10th alongside AC Milan when many expected them to be fighting relegation.

His collection includes an exquisite curled effort against Genoa and an extraordinary goal against Torino, when he flicked a difficult ball into the air with his heel and volleyed home from a narrow angle.

Zamparini was quick to wheel out more superlatives, saying Dybala would one day be better than Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

There were also suggestions that he could be selected by Italy, for whom he is eligible through his grandmother, but Dybala, insisting that he felt Argentine, has said his dream is to play for Argentina.

Last week, Zamparini said six teams were interested in signing him, including Paris St Germain, Juventus and Inter Milan and added that he intended to rake in 40 million euros (45.32 million US dollars).

He said Juventus were “the most decisive” but complained their offer was short of what he wanted.

“I would prefer Napoli,” he added. “[Napoli president] Aurelio de Laurentiis is a really nice guy and if he goes there, he can become the new Maradona.”

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN