Franco Vázquez has quickly become one of Italy’s most dynamic playmakers, with suitors from across Europe keeping tabs on the Palermo star. Despite the departure of Paulo Dybala, the 26-year has continued to shine
What you need to know
Full name: Franco Damián Vázquez
Date of birth: 02.22.89
Position: Midfielder (Attacking Mid)
Current club: Palermo
Height: 1.86 m
National caps: Italy (2 caps)
Who is Vázquez?
Franco Damián Vázquez has enjoyed a stellar run here these past two years for Palermo. The Argentina-born playmaker has flourished in Italy’s top-flight since his brief stint with Spanish side Rayo Vallecano back in 2012-13. With his breakout season coming in 2014-15 in which he scored 10 goals to compliment eleven assists, the Italian international has quickly become one of the most sought after number 10’s in Europe.
For country, Vázquez had recently elected to choose Italy over Argentina, which was not the case for former Palermo forward Paulo Dybala who did the exact opposite. Since his choice, the Azzurri midfielder has only made two appearances under Antonio Conte, both coming in international friendlies against England and Portugal.
Strengths and weaknesses
Vázquez possesses good size and strength in the midfield which allows him to body defenders and be physical in order to link up play. While he may not be the most explosive player, the 26-year old tends to be able to find space for himself due to being an above average dribbler and controller of the ball. As a midfielder that plays in a more attacking role, Vázquez has the vision qualifications that the trequartista role requires. He won’t turn heads and be on the highlight reel of passing, however his vision allows him to see the open space and make the necessary distribution.
The former Rayo Vallecano man has proven that he can be the creator, most notably in 14/15 under now former manager Giuseppe Iachini when he managed to score ten times while providing 11 assists. With the combination of goals and assists that he can bring, Vázquez is a prime asset and has found his calling as a professional in Italy.
The player has a flattering arsenal of talent but of course, there are his weaknesses. Vázquez, as mentioned before, does not have explosive speed which while might not be a huge problem, it does put him at a disadvantage on occasion. One of his major weaknesses is that at age 26, he may have reached his ceiling in terms of potential, but that could be put to rest should he make a move to a more complete side. He tends to favor his left too much in the final third which has caused him to miss out on a few more goals. His biggest weakness is that we have seen a completely different player these past two seasons than we have in previous years, which makes you wonder if this type of form can be replicated with a bigger European club on a bigger stage.
2015/16 and beyond
Club president Maurizio Zamparini has already stated that this star playmaker will cost around 30 million euros to any club seeking his talent. On the flip side, the midfielder had recently signed a new contract with the rosanero until June 2019 so there is still a slight chance that the club retains him and looks to build around him for the future. Regardless of the situation, Vázquez has enjoyed his spell these past two years as a professional footballer, which makes for a solid prime in his career.
It is expected that Vázquez will appeal to other teams (most notably Milan, who are reportedly heavily interested) across Europe who are looking to add a playmaker of his caliber without breaking the bank like Juventus did with the youngster Dybala.
As for his national career, Antonio Conte has been reluctant to give Vázquez the call-up he deserves and questions surround his chances at next summer’s Euro in France. Certainly he is deserving of a shot, but it remains to be seen if the former bianconeri manager will look his way moving forward.
Franco Vázquez, a name that we will surely keep our eyes on this season and during the hectic mercato months.