We’ve got a good old-fashioned January standoff on our hands, as Edinson Cavani handed in a transfer request at Paris Saint-Germain.
There was expected to be a fair amount of interest in the veteran hitman’s signature this month regardless, but the concrete news that he wants out after a tough season in Paris has sent the football media spiralling.
A host of clubs in England, as well as a smattering on the continent and beyond, are now said to be falling over themselves to get to the front of the queue, so let’s dive in and assess some of his options for a January switch.
Reported vaguely in Spain to have tabled an offer for the Uruguayan, Arsenal’s name has been in the frame but, in truth, it just doesn’t make a huge lot of sense.
You can envision the Gunners being in the market for a new striker in the long run, with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette having been linked with moves away, but it doesn’t seem hugely likely either will require replacing this month – especially with Mikel Arteta looking to stabilise things in the early days of his tenure, rather than shake it up.
Aubameyang’s ongoing suspension has stretched their attacking options, true, but the signing of Cavani on an eye-watering wage would demonstrate some spectacularly small-minded thinking, considering Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah both offer exciting young options upfront.
Likelihood Rating: 3/10
PSG sporting director Leonardo says Tottenham Hotspur target Edinson Cavani has handed in a transfer request.
— Talking THFC (@TalkingTHFC) January 20, 2020
This one does have one or two things going for it. Unlike their North London rivals, Tottenham are in the market for a striker in the short-term, with Harry Kane out until April with injury, and there is the appeal of Champions League football on offer.
However, that’s about it.
On the other hand, there are more than a few red flags. Cavani, for one thing, won’t want to be playing second fiddle to Kane once he returns, and the financial element once again comes into play. Spurs would have to sign off on an exorbitant wage packet to bring him in now, and that’s just not very Spursy.
It seems like a Jose Mourinho signing, granted, but it’s just difficult to imagine either Daniel Levy or Cavani himself going for this one.
Likelihood Rating: 4/10
Inter (Milan edition)
Inter are doing some very Inter business this month. An Ashley Young here, a Victor Moses there, it’s looking like they on are going for the tried and tested Italian football tactic of ‘signing every available ageing pro on the market in the hopes of short-term success’.
To be fair, it’s worked for them so far, so why stop there? From a PSG perspective, they obviously have some sort of working relationship with the Italians, so the French side allowing Cavani to join them now might aid their chances of landing Mauro Icardi permanently in the summer.
Would Cavani, though, be prepared to wait for his chances behind an established duo in Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez? There’s every chance he’d end up starting most of his games in the Europa League – not exactly a huge appeal there.
Likelihood Rating: 5/10
Inter (Miami edition)
Meanwhile in MLS, David Beckham’s Inter Miami are still on the lookout for a salary cap-breaking signing or two to boost the brand ahead of their first competitive match next month, and Cavani has been chief among the names linked.
The likelihood of this one might just depend on what Cavani feels he has left to offer. The fact he has handed in a transfer request indicates he is keen to push himself for another few seasons, but if he fancies a change of scenery and the chance to rattle in 65 goals per season like Zlatan, then a move stateside may beckon.
Inter Miami are keen on promoting South American talent and there would be few better ambassadors for that than Cavani, while PSG may be more likely to accept an approach from a non-competitor. Plenty going for this one, but no shortage of doubts either.
Likelihood Rating: 6/10
Thomas Tuchel: “I am not sure that Edinson Cavani will be here in February” [PSG’s Sporting Director has also confirmed that Cavani has asked to leave the club!]@Chelsea please This guy can help us in the UCL & Tammy can also learn from him. pic.twitter.com/a4shGDSRYX
— Nouman (@nomifooty) January 20, 2020
The Blues have money to spend and catch-up to play in the January window, and need a viable, experienced alternative to Tammy Abraham. Is the writing on the wall here? Not quite, but it does make a fair amount of sense.
From Cavani’s perspective, this one’s fairly straightforward. With only one established striker available to Frank Lampard at present, he would know he has a decent chance of carving out some first-team football for himself, and if he hits the heights he can, then he could really take the fight to Abraham to become the club’s first choice.
For Chelsea, it’s some much-needed experience to inject into what is a very young squad, and a proven goalscorer to bring into games when Abraham’s form invariably dips. It’s someone for Abraham to learn the trade from, and perhaps only Chelsea’s lack of recent reported interest stops this from ranking higher.
Likelihood Rating: 7/10
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, when talking about his team’s Champions League clash with Atlético Madrid:
“I hope they don’t sign Cavani.” pic.twitter.com/v2KhXAX3LP
— Warriors of Uruguay (@UruguayanHeroes) January 17, 2020
PSG rejected an offer from the Spanish side for his services earlier in the window, but the word on the continent is that Cavani wants the move to happen, and is keen to work with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.
That being the case, it looks unlikely that they won’t try their hand another once or twice at bringing him in. The club clearly want him, and the player clearly wants the move, so while PSG are holding out for all they can get, they seem unlikely to stand in the way of it for too much longer.
The transfer request might just spring Atléti into action – we’ll see how this one goes.
Likelihood Rating: 7/10
This one just seems right, doesn’t it?
United were already in need of another attacking option before Marcus Rashford’s injury; now they most certainly are.
United have plenty of youth and exuberance in the final third, with Anthony Martial, at 24, their most experienced forward. Cavani, then, as a proven option to come in for 18 months or so and offer some world-class quality, while not expecting to start every game, fits like a glove.
It would give the wealth of young attackers someone to look up to, gives the likes of Mason Greenwood something to aim at, and adds some leadership to a squad that, by the gods, is in desperate need of it. This is perhaps the most sensible of sensible signings, so United should avoid letting another one slip through the cracks and get this one done early.
Likelihood Rating: 8/10