What next for Edinson Cavani as his goal-laden career at PSG comes to a close?

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Edinson Cavani is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain either this month or in the summer and isn


A year ago, when Edinson Cavani assessed his options for when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired in the summer of 2020, he revealed that retirement was a genuine possibility.

‘I am playing towards the end of my contract and possibly my career,’ said the Uruguayan striker. ‘I will be 33 going on 34 when it is up. I do not know if I will continue after 2020.’

What a colossal shame that would be for football fans everywhere. You just need to look at Cavani’s remarkable career goal returns to appreciate just what a special player he has been – and still is.

Edinson Cavani is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain either this month or in the summer and isn’t short of interest from prominent clubs across Europe

The Uruguayan striker, 33 next month, has become accustomed to warming the bench of late

The Uruguayan striker, 33 next month, has become accustomed to warming the bench of late

The form of on-loan striker Mauro Icardi (No 18) and injuries has restricted Cavani's game time

The form of on-loan striker Mauro Icardi (No 18) and injuries has restricted Cavani’s game time

A total of 104 goals in 138 matches for Napoli during his three seasons there at the start of the last decade, followed by an awesome contribution of 198 in 290 for PSG since 2013.

Throw in the 50 goals scored for Uruguay, the appearances in eight major tournaments and his extensive collection of domestic medals and you’re left hoping Cavani might give us a couple more years.

Luckily, despite clear signs that age and effort is catching up with his body, it looks like retirement has been put to the back of Cavani’s mind for the time being.

As he enters the final six months of his PSG contract, which expires on June 30, perhaps the number of interested suitors around Europe has convinced Cavani to do what’s right.

Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have been linked with the striker in recent weeks with the January window open.

Indeed, Rio Ferdinand, in a Twitter Q&A on United’s January transfer dealings just after the New Year, said: ‘I would 100% go and get Edinson Cavani. Huge experience, goalscorer, work ethic and great pro who the younger players in the squad would learn a lot from.’ 

Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United should be doing everything they can to sign Cavani

Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United should be doing everything they can to sign Cavani

Cavani and Kylian Mbappe are all smiles during PSG's League Cup win over Saint-Etienne

Cavani and Kylian Mbappe are all smiles during PSG’s League Cup win over Saint-Etienne

The Uruguayan celebrates scoring against sixth tier Linas Montlhery in the French Cup

The Uruguayan celebrates scoring against sixth tier Linas Montlhery in the French Cup

A moment of sportsmanship as Cavani congratulates Linas Montlhery keeper Ali Lutumba on making a save to deny him a goal last weekend

A moment of sportsmanship as Cavani congratulates Linas Montlhery keeper Ali Lutumba on making a save to deny him a goal last weekend

Inter Milan are also keen, but reports in Spain suggest that Atletico Madrid are the frontrunners now and Cavani reportedly favours the opportunity to play under Diego Simeone rather than come to England.

You suspect he’d do a job for any of those teams. Even though he has struggled with injuries this season, as he did last season, Cavani doesn’t need a second invitation to get in amongst the goals.

He has played just 564 minutes of football for PSG this season across all competitions and started just four Ligue 1 matches, but Cavani still has five goals to his credit.

Injuries and his contract situation aside, Cavani was never likely to be staying at the Parc des Princes for much longer.

There is a new so-called ‘Fantastic Four’ at PSG and he isn’t part of it. Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria have been joined by Mauro Icardi, the Argentine striker on loan from Inter Milan, who has exceeded all expectations by scoring 17 times so far this season.

Cavani with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick in PSG's 4-0 win at Monaco last season

Cavani with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick in PSG’s 4-0 win at Monaco last season

The striker may be 33 next month but is still a lethal finisher and will take a fresh challenge

The striker may be 33 next month but is still a lethal finisher and will take a fresh challenge

EDINSON CAVANI GOAL AND ASSIST RETURNS SINCE 2010 
Club Matches Goals Assists
2010-11 Napoli 47 33 7
2011-12 Napoli 48 33 3
2012-13 Napoli 43 38 4
TOTAL Napoli 138 104 14
2013-14 PSG 43 25 6
2014-15 PSG 53 31 2
2015-16 PSG 52 25 6
2016-17 PSG 50 49 6
2017-18 PSG 48 40 11
2018-19 PSG 33 23 9
2019-20 PSG 13 5 1
TOTAL PSG 292 198 41

In the politest possible way, Cavani is no longer needed as he once was and PSG have perhaps reached the conclusion they may as well get some money – likely about £12million – for him this month as opposed to nothing in the summer.

Mind you, manager Thomas Tuchel believes there will be a place for him in the second-half of the table as PSG compete on four fronts.

He said this week: ‘It has been difficult for Edinson after picking up an injury. That meant he lost rhythm, whilst other players were in good form in his position.

‘I trust that he will stay with us and I do not imagine anything else happening.’

Sporting director Leonardo, reportedly already in talks with Atletico, may beg to differ but wherever Cavani is playing his football next month, he will have plenty to offer.

Cavani celebrates with Luis Suarez after scoring in last year's Copa America for Uruguay

Cavani celebrates with Luis Suarez after scoring in last year’s Copa America for Uruguay

He has an excellent international scoring record, including this against Portugal at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

He has an excellent international scoring record, including this against Portugal at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

To watch Cavani’s goals is to witness a striker with an innate talent for being in the right place at the right time.

There are few better than him for waiting on the shoulder of the defender or perfectly timing a run to remain onside and poach a goal from inside the six-yard box.

Take his hat-trick of close range finishes in PSG’s 4-0 win at Monaco last season. Such was Cavani’s immaculate timing, he was twice flagged offside only for VAR to correctly award him the goal.

Cavani slotting into an empty net after the lightning pace of Mbappe broke clear of an opposition defence has become a common theme, but he’s obviously much more than a tap-in merchant.

Cavani loves a deft lob over a stranded keeper, scored a gorgeous chip up and volley goal against Toulouse last season and is an accomplished penalty taker, scoring 55 of 68 in his career.

Cavani has scored 198 times for PSG since signing for the French club from Napoli in 2013

Cavani has scored 198 times for PSG since signing for the French club from Napoli in 2013

Before that he was a prolific scorer for Napoli in Serie A at the beginning of the last decade

Before that he was a prolific scorer for Napoli in Serie A at the beginning of the last decade

He has also contributed 41 assists during his time with PSG, though with their star-studded front line, goals aren’t exactly hard to come by.

Atletico would certainly welcome the additional firepower were he to move there. They have managed just 22 goals in their opening 19 LaLiga matches and 30 overall.

With Diego Costa sidelined with a neck problem, Alvaro Morata far from prolific and youngster Joao Felix struggling to get going there, Simeone would surely use Cavani whenever he was fit.

There would be a step up involved from French to Spanish football but Cavani, with his vast experience, would surely be up to the challenge even at 33.  

After all, that’s too young for someone so talented to be hanging up their boots.

 



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