13 May 2014

£55m for Cavani? Let's go for 60!

Why not? If we were willing to offer £40m for Luis Suarez (yes, yes, plus one), why not up the offer just a touch for Cavani? Unlike that other Uruguayan, Cavani brings with him no baggage of the racist, bitey, divey, variety. What's more, he's apparently not happy with his role as second-fiddle to Zlatan, having to play wide instead of his preferred central position. Despite deferring to Zlatan, he's still found time to deliver 25 goals in 42 appearances. The fact that this represents a drop from his delivery while with Napoli should make the prospect of his moving to Arsenal all the more drool-inducing.

Hmm. He's got the proper sponsor...
First, of course, the financials. His move from Napoli to PSG came with a fee of around £65m, with weekly wages certainly crossing the £200k line. To pry him from PSG would probably require something similar, although this might be a rare case when a player's market value may have flat-lined or even dipped (which may reflect a certain glass ceiling to transfer-fees that only the biggest buffoons dare break. Florentino Perez, I'm thinking of you). If it reflects any doubts about Cavani's ability, so much the better for us. The transfer-fee might gobble up most of our reported £100m kitty, leaving us precious little to spend on other needs. I'm not a big fan of papering over deficiencies, but if Cavani were to rediscover the form that saw him scoring upwards of 30 goals a season, we might be able to get by with only three centre-backs for another season, for example. If Cavani can rediscover that form, we would have a legitimate shot at progressing ever-deeper in the Champions League while also contending for the Prem title as well, and the earnings from such achievements is not to be sniffed at.

As to form, a fair amount of whatever "dip" he may have suffered derives largely from where he plays, not how well. At Napoli, he was the number-one option, and deservedly so. At this best, he's easily among the most-lethal strikers in the world. He may not be at Zlatan's level, but few are. Put Cavani back at center, and maybe we'll see him contending for the Golden Boot. Even Cavani himself has admitted to some dissatisfaction with his role at PSG, saying the following:
I've been playing in a position that isn't mine for the year now. I've waited until the end of the championship to bring this up. I will have to sit down with the club and discuss the issue...I am a striker and I would like to play in that position.
As long as Zlatan rules the roost at PSG, Cavani will almost never get a chance to play striker, at least not regularly.  Should Cavani make the switch to Arsenal, he'd immediately become the #1 striker, reprising the role he played to such acclaim at Napoli. Heck, he might even relish the prospect of besting Suarez for the Golden Boot and establishing himself as Uruguay's #1 striker in the process. It may be too late for Brazil 2014, but Brazil 2016 is after all just two years later (if my math is to be trusted). If Cavani wants to prove himself for his country, switching clubs might be his best bet.

Would Arsène consider such a move? It's hard to see it, to be honest. Just eight months removed from shattering his previous transfer-fee record, would he loosen the purse-strings for a second summer in a row? In his own words, Arsène has said, ""For me, for £60million a guy must take the ball at the kick-off and score every time he touches the ball." Now, that's a bit of a lofty standard. Fábregas more or less pulled it off once upon a time, but it's hardly realistic to pull that off more than once in a while. Still, Cavani's haul of 26, 23, and 29 league goals while playing striker for Napoli in the cynically defensive Serie A suggest that he could go a long way towards convincing Arsène of his value.

With Chelsea apparently zeroing in on Costa, and Man City and PSG both sweating FFP sanctions, we alone might be able to entice Cavani to make the switch. Champions League football? Check. League title contention? Check. A chance to lead the line? Check. Ambition enough? Ummm....maybe.

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