This season, Paris Saint-Germain have been toying with the quatres fantastiques. But despite being the club’s record goalscorer, Edinson Cavani is not one of them.
But he is going to be pushed out the door, either this month or in the summer, to make way for something younger and shinier.
The 32-year-old is viewed as yesterday’s man. Despite his record for the capital side, he doesn’t belong in that exclusive club that’s comprised of Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, Mauro Icardi and Ángel Dí María.
His time in the Parc des Princes clearly up, Cavani will depart at the end of the season when his contract expires. He could even move on before then.
David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise, Inter Miami, has been touted as a possible landing place that would take the Uruguayan closer to home. A romantic return to Napoli and the city of Naples where he made his name in Europe has also been mooted, as has a switch to Antonio Conte’s hard-running Internazionale side, for which he’d surely be a perfect match.
The most serious links, however, are with Manchester United, Chelsea and Atlético Madrid — possibly as soon as this month.
Having been restricted to only four Ligue 1 starts this year, Cavani has taken matters into his own hands.
“Edinson Cavani has requested to leave,” Sporting director Leonardo confirmed.
“We are studying the circumstance. We had an offer from Atlético Madrid, we did not accept it. I don’t know how this is going to turn out.”
Coach Thomas Tuchel admitted he expected the Salto native to depart Paris before the end of the month, stating: “I am not certain that Edinson Cavani will be here in February.”
On the face of it, Cavani seems tailor-made for Diego Simeone’s physical, intense and direct style of play. A man with the nickname’El Matador’ is made for the Atlético trainer who has worked with a variety of South American forwards to great success during his time in charge of Los Rojiblancos.
After countryman Diego Forlán, Colombian Radamel Falcao, Argentine greqt Sergio Agüero or Brazil-born Spanish Global Diego Costa at the lineage of Atleti strikers would make a lot of sense. Despite having a lot of miles on the clock and turning 33 on Valentine’s Day, Cavani has the tenacity, aggression, discipline, and stamina to thrive in Simeone’s side.
Moreover, with Costa’s second stint at the club failing to hit the heights of his first and summer signing João Félix fighting to live up to his billing, the goalscoring burden has fallen to the especially inconsistent Álvaro Morata.
Maybe, though, Manchester United’s need is greater. Until a few days ago, the idea of signing a soon-to-be-33-year-old striker could have been viewed as a potential roadblock for Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood. But Rashford is now out for’a while’ after director Ole Gunnar Solskjær gambled on his fitness by playing him in an FA Cup third-round replay against Wolverhampton Wanderers, leading to a stress fracture in his back.
Solskjær, though, claims the requirement to sign another forward isn’t desperate, though he wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to add one on a short term basis. Cavani could be the perfect fit. Not desperately,” Solskjær explained. “Of course we’re taking a look at numbers also because we have had many injuries. If there are loans available it may be possible. However, I’ve got players here as well that are chomping at the bit.”
Some experience wouldn’t go bankrupt and Cavani is a serial winner with 18 honours out of his time in France alone. But his arrival could put the breaks on the progress of Martial, who has eventually returned to the No.9 spot in the group this season, and Greenwood, who has notched nine times in 12 starts in all competitions.
Too often lately, United have been seduced by the big-name player to the detriment of the club. Alexis Sánchez, anybody? This isn’t one of those occasions — there is a real need for a short-term repair — but Cavani will want over a deal until the end of the year and that could present a stumbling block.
It is a similarly delicate position at Chelsea where Tammy Abraham has shone in his first season as the Blues’ main man. With Olivier Giroud anticipated to proceed to Internazionale and Michy Batshuayi unable to convince Frank Lampard of his worth, another striker is required.
Cavani would be ideal. He is far more portable than Giroud, can hold up the ball better than Batshuayi and has the know-how Abraham lacks. But given he is leaving Paris due to a lack of action, would playing second-fiddle to Abraham be any more attractive?
Lampard is certainly intrigued, saying: “He’s a wonderful player; I played against him and always loved his mentality and attitude, and his scoring record speaks for itself.
“I’m not absolutely aware of what the situation is, so we’ll see.
“The idea of earning experience is something I am certainly not absolutely looking away from because occasionally the young players need a little bit of help, and if that’s the case then may assist us.”
In the 2010s, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi scored more goals in Europe’s top five leagues compared to him.
He might be nearly 33, but El Matador still has quality in abundance. In a role-reversal, it is time for a top club caught the bull by the horns and procured Cavani’s signature.