Friday, July 1, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 50 and 49.

50. Sven Bender- There have been a lot of Dortmund players on this list and, believe it or not, there is a reason for that; the German champions were just brilliant last season.

At age twenty-two, Bender is one of the brightest, if not the most fashionable, prospects in World Football at the moment. Though not the most prominent Dortmund star, Bender is nevertheless a crucial cog in Jurgen Klopp's machine, the man that keeps things ticking over in midfield.

Defensive midfield players are rarely given enough credit for their actions, though without players like Bender it would have been impossible for the high profile likes of Shinji Kagawa and Nuri Sahin to weave their magic.

As of yet, Bender has been unable to break past Sami Khedira to gain a consistent, starting role with the German national team, though a terrific Bundesliga season will not have gone unnoticed by Jogi Lowe.

In terms of a potential summer transfer, Bender has been less heavily linked than other members of Dortmund's title winning squad, but there has been some talk of a move. German giants Bayern Munich are rumored to be interested in the youngster, as are English side Everton. It seems unlikely that Bender would be willing to move to a club not offering Champions League football, so if he were to leave Dortmund (and there is no reason to believe he will) then Bayern would be favorites to grab his signature.

49. Javier Pastore- Without a doubt one of the best young creative midfield players in the World, Javier Pastore looks set to depart Italian club Palermo after another terrific showing last season.

A genius with the ball at his feet, it came as no surprise to any of the Argentinian community well educated in football when Pastore was scouted out by Palermo two years ago. The Argentinian international has the ability to pick out passes from any range, as well as find the net often enough too. Eleven goals in the Serie A last season was a strong return, one impressive enough that he is unlikely to have the opportunity to match that feat next year; certainly not in the Palermo shirt at least.

Currently at the Copa America with Argentina, Pastore looks to have a rich international future ahead of him, though not starting for Batista's team now, he is likely to have get chances to break in as the tournament progresses.

It is rare for a player to have as much elegance on the ball as Javier Pastore, and that composure in possession has attracted the attention of some of Europe's most noteworthy clubs. Chelsea are rumored to have put in a massive offer for the playmaker, while Pastore himself admitted that his agent has been in talks with Barcelona. Manchester United too have been linked with a move, they are in dire need of a player of his ilk, but will have to compete with city rivals City if they are to seal his signature.

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