Pastore: "I never said I want to leave"
Palermo star Javier Pastore insists he never said he wanted to quit the Serie A club amid interest from Premier League duo Manchester City and Chelsea.
Pastore was quoted by Fox Sports Argentina as saying: "I feel that the time to leave Palermo has arrived." But the Albiceleste playmaker has issued an official statement to deny the report.
"I never said I wanted to leave Palermo," Pastore said. "Many people asked me via Twitter if I said that it was time to leave Palermo. The truth is that I never said that because, as I always point out, I am happy at Palermo.
"What I repeat every time is that if I receive an interesting offer that is good for both the club and for me, then we will evaluate it along with Palermo and my agent."
The Italian club have always been desperate to keep hold of the 21-year-old amid all the transfer speculation, but on Friday club owner Maurizio Zamparini appeared resigned to losing his star player.
"I give up on Pastore," Zamparini said to Sky Italia. "He speaks more to his agent than he does with me. I am not offended.
"It's logical that at the most he would have played one more season at Palermo but at the same time if he did, he would have more pressure and he wouldn't be the same Pastore we know.
"There are big clubs that want him. We are talking about one of the top talents in current football and I will not sell him on the cheap. I paid for him €19 million when he was 18."
Pastore, who has also attracted interest from Inter Milan and Real Madrid, is contracted to Palermo until 2015.