Palermo owner Maurizio Zamparini has warned Napoli off bidding for Javier Pastore, insisting that the Rosanero have already received a mystery €50 million offer for the highly-rated young playmaker.
Pastore, 21, has emerged as one of the most exciting talents in Serie A over the past 18 months, with his scintillating displays in an advanced role in midfield earning him widespread acclaim.
He has been regularly linked with a move away from the club and Zamparini revealed last month that Manchester City had enquired about the Argentinian's services on deadline day of the January transfer window.
Reports in the Italian press this week have suggested that Napoli - currently third in the table and chasing a Champions League qualification spot - are the latest team to court Pastore, though Zamparini has been quick to deny the rumours by claiming the Partenopei could not afford to sign the starlet.
"Javier is out of Napoli's reach," Zamparini told Radio Kiss Kiss. "Besides, I have already received a €50 million offer for Pastore and still have to give an answer. If I were Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, I wouldn't sign him for that price."
But while the Rosanero chief was dismissive of Napoli's chances of prising Pastore away from Stadio Renzo Barbera, he did say that he hopes to do Walter Mazzarri's side a favour by beating league leaders AC Milan this weekend, though having lost five in a row, Palermo's chances of a win appear remote.
"I was in Naples yesterday and everyone was very affectionate, telling me to beat Milan so that Napoli can close in on the top spot," Zamparini said. "We are coming from a difficult time, I spoke to my players and asked them to face Milan without pressure, just as Bari did at San Siro last week.
"Napoli are performing miracles and if the two Milanese clubs slip up, then the title race could get very interesting."