It is a matter of some regret that two of the world’s top strikers were available for transfer last summer, and neither ended up at Chelsea – a club which sorely needed a new centre-forward. The Blues were outbid for the services of Edinson Cavani and Falcao by the new-found French financial muscle of PSG and Monaco. But now it seems Cavani at least might be ready to move on again, having failed to settle at the Parisian club. The question is, should we bid for him a second time around?
There’s no doubt that Cavani is an excellent player – strong, tireless, and a prolific goal scorer. He’s been pushed somewhat to the sidelines at PSG because Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the number one striker there, but even so he’s managed to bang in more than a goal every 2 games. He’s fast, clever, his positioning and technique are superb, and the only real criticism of him is that his finishing can be wayward (as evidenced in his performances against Chelsea in the Champions League last year).
PSG have stated that they will not be letting Cavani go, but given the FFP sanctions which restrict their net transfer expenditure, they may well be persuaded to sell him in order to keep their oil-fuelled spending spree going. The downside of that is that they are unlikely to want to take a loss on the £55 million they paid for him. His salary is also likely to be sky-high, and Chelsea would probably have to at least match it in order to have any chance of persuading him to come to London.
The main issue now, however, is less whether we can afford him (we can) and more whether we need him any longer. Diego Costa looks certain to be arriving and will presumably be the attacking figurehead of the team, at half the price Cavani is likely to be. Costa, it’s true, doesn’t offer as much quality as Cavani – he’s not as skilful and has really only had one prolific season. But he is stronger and more willing to get involved in physical challenges. And can we really afford to break our transfer record for a player who may find himself playing second fiddle to a younger man?
Cavani deserves to be playing at a big European club, and one where he is not overshadowed by Ibrahimovic. I doubt that will be Chelsea, and that’s a shame. To have the chance of buying one of the best strikers in the game two years running and declining both times is almost heart-breaking. However, whereas the timing would have been perfect last summer, it’s not now. The right purchase at the wrong time.
Indeed, if there is a PSG attacker we should be chasing, it probably ought to be Ezequiel Lavezzi, Cavani’s team-mate both in Paris and Napoli. Lavezzi has given us a hard time on the two occasions he’s come up against us in the Champions League. He’s an energetic hard worker who can play in the centre or on the wing. He’s a Mourinho type of player. And he’d be much cheaper.