Profiling Paulo Dybala – Serie A’s ‘Sergio Agüero’

When Palermo announced the signature of young Argentine forward Paulo Dybala in 2012 it was seen as a major coup for the modest Serie A outfit.

The Stadio Renzo Barbera side have a recent history of developing talented South American attackers, with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore evolving to their current top-drawer status at the Sicilian club.

However, after exploding onto the domestic scene at Instituto as a 17-year-old, Dybala was quickly being touted as the a future Argentina international and being compared to Sergio Agüero.

With some of Europe’s top teams linked with a move for the teenager, the fact that Palermo won the race for his signature came as a bit of a surprise.

Adapting to European football has taken time for the now 21-year-old Dybala, who did not show the same clinical edge in front of goal in his first two seasons in Italy that shot him to prominence in his homeland.

A return of only three goals in his debut campaign in European football saw Palermo relegated from Serie A, while last season the Argentine struck five times in the club’s promotion from the second tier.

Despite not hitting the net on a regular basis over this 24-month spell, Dybala’s immaculate technique and vision have been evident; it seemed like only a matter of time before it clicked for the Córdoba-born forward.

This season has been a different story for Dybala, who has added goals to his impressive overall performances and is starting to live up to his massive potential and the media furore that surrounded him upon his arrival in Italy.

The South American attacker has started all 12 of Palermo’s games back in the Italian top-flight and has already hit five goals, including getting his name on the scoresheet on his last three outings.

The summer departure of Uruguayan Abel Hernández to Hull seems to have paved the way for Dybala to be Palermo’s main man in attack and he has struck up a dangerous partnership with compatriot Franco Vázquez.

Paulo DybalaWith the forward maturing into a striker to be reckoned with, Dybala is seemingly in demand at both club and national level.

Transfer rumours linking the Argentine with a switch to one of Serie A’s top teams or a move overseas to the Premier League have been regularly doing the rounds in recent weeks.

Despite the calibre of the teams supposedly courting the attacker, the likelihood is that Dybala will remain for Palermo until the end of the season.

However, with a contract that expires with the Sicilians in the summer of 2016 there may well be scope for Dybala to make a big-money move; Palermo’s outspoken president Maurizio Zamparini has slapped a €40 million price-tag on his head though.

Despite his club form making many sit up and take notice, international recognition for Argentina may well be some way off given the quality of attacking talent at the South American nation’s disposal.

Dybala has the likes of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Carlos Tevez, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Agüero as competition for a place with the Albiceleste.

However, reports in Italy are suggesting that new Azzurri head coach Antonio Conte is interested in sounding out the possibility of the Palermo man representing the European nation.

Dybala has both Polish and Italian heritage through his grandparents and as such his path to international football may not be blocked by Argentina’s stellar list of established strikers.

Conte selected a experimental contingent for Italy’s recent friendly fixture against Albania, with a number of new attackers included in the group; it is clear that the former Juventus chief is as yet undecided on his offensive personnel.

For the time being Dybala will be focussed on continuing his impressive start to the season for Palermo.

Dybala may not yet be at the level of Agüero, a player he is frequently compared to, but the signs are there that he is starting to live up to his superstar billing.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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