If one listens to the Twitter loudmouth Tancredi Palmeri, which one should, you would have heard him shouting out of your monitors and mobile screens that Edinson Cavani to Chelsea is very much done! What is expected is that Chelsea would have to pay his complete release clause, widely reported to be amounting to the astronomical sum of 63 million Euros, plus some Mars bars as a personal deal-sweetener for Antonio De Laurentiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis to make Cavani de-Partenopei (nice pun, eh?). His wages surely would not be any low either.
The last time out Chelsea went and bought a striker committing a lot of money in transfer fee and wages, wait, scratch that. Last TWO times Chelsea went and bought a striker committing a lot of money in transfer fee and wages, it didn’t turn out the way one would have expected. This is the reason many Chelsea fans are hoping that either City or Real Madrid hijack the Cavani deal and Chelsea be spared the blushes. They knoweth not, those foolish mortals, that Cavani is precisely the SanGreal Chelsea fans have been craving for.
Wanna let a highlights clip roll showing all goals Cavani scored for Napoli in just 3 minutes? You’ve got it.
In case of both Shevchenko and Torres, they were steadily declining from their prime when Chelsea bought them. Also, both were speed merchants, meaning injuries and age were dead certain to catch up with them sooner or later and rob them of their pace. Sadly, Chelsea, in order to leave a statement of intent, took the bait both times and were burdened with a non-performing striker on meteoric wages.
Could things go wrong with Cavani? Here’s Mourinho on big-money bunglings :
[quote]”Even with the top dogs – when you buy for £30m, £40m, £50m, or £60m – sometimes it doesn’t work. It doesn’t mean you or the club made a big mistake. It just doesn’t work.”[/quote]
Let’s take a look at Eddy Cavani’s skillset and see if he can succeed at Chelsea.
First things first, Cavani is NOT a goal machine. I know that this sounds contradictory to the fact that he has been scoring so many goals for Napoli, but that sadly is the truth. I’ll admit that I have not seen a LOT of Cavani, but regarding what I did see, I agree completely with Graham MacAree’s judgement. Cavani will NOT score all the half-chances you would expect the likes of Van Persie or Aguero or Falcao to bury without flinching. Cavani is NOT the elite finisher his price commands. No, his finishing isn’t bad at all, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Then is Cavani worth the 63M? Yeah absolutely! Why? Because he is a different animal altogether.
Cavani is a better creator of chances than his counterparts courtesy of his superb movement and ability to go head to head with even the toughest defenders. But that is only a part of his game. Remember the Chelsea vs. Napoli match at the Bridge when Cavani, having just led the attack, came all the way back to tackle Torres leading Chelsea’s counter. That simply summed Cavani up. He’s a fighter. Guy’s got Ramires-like stamina, if not more adding to his immense strength. He does the full up-down on the pitch, defends better than any other forward in the world and creates great scoring chances.
Consider for example, the recently concluded Confederations Cup Semi-Final between Uruguay and Brazil, where Cavani was played on the right wing to help Uruguay cope better with Marcelo’s forays forward. To everybody’s surprise, the striker carried out the task at such a level that any defensive winger would be proud of. His defending isn’t the usual ‘striker-styled defending’, where the striker, in an attempt to defend, resembles a lost toad. Rather, it is highly disciplined, tactical and efficient.
Taking into account all this, it’s difficult to see Cavani not fitting at any club in the world. He’s a unique specimen. He’s someone whom, if I’m in a hurry, I’d describe as a complete forward. In truth, he’s several touches better than what the phrase implies.
If Cavani is to land at Chelsea, it’s not difficult to see him thrive under Jose Mourinho and Chelsea’s ever evolving style. But as soon as he takes the pitch, assessments will begin taking as benchmark the performances of the Flying Dutchman, currently the Premier League’s finest striker, Robin van Persie. The past two seasons have clearly been Robin’s best. He has showed that when he’s not on the treatment table, he’s propelling his team up the points table. On countless occasions has the talisman saved Arsenal and United when lost points were staring in their face. So let us compare how both Cavani and RvP fared in the 2012-13 season for club and country, neglecting the fact that they played in different championships.
Van Persie Vs Cavani – ATTACK
Remarkably, both have played a similar number of games for both club and country. And as I said earlier that you may doubt my statement that Cavani isn’t an elite finisher after seeing the number of goals scored, now you see why. Cavani has 8 goals more than RvP having played a similar number of games. And no, it’s not that Cavani scores lots of dead goals, in fact he has scored nearly as many game changing goals % than the Dutchman. So, it’s not only that Cavani scores, it’s that he scores when it matters the most. SIGN HIM UP, ROMAN !
Van Persie Vs Cavani – DEFENCE :
What better a measure to gauge a striker’s level than bring up his defensive contribution in question. This certainly won’t show Cavani running his arse off to stop counters or defend astutely forcing the attacker to play all the way back, but let’s see what it does show.
Cavani has twice the number of tackles per game than RvP has. Also it’s reflected in the foul count, nearly 1.5 times of RvP. He also has a significantly high number of clearances per game. And sheerly due to the fact that he puts himself in defensive positions and isn’t a natural holding player, he gets beaten thrice as much as Robin, per game. Overall, impressive defensive stats for a striker from Eddy !
Van Persie Vs Cavani PASSING AND POSSESSION :
Both Cavani and RvP have forever been touted to be good playing intricate passes to teammates to launch or continue attacks. Not taking into account the defensive nature and rigidity of the Serie A and the tactical upper-hand of the Premier League, let’s see what story the raw numbers tell us
Both are no slouches and have a fairly good Pass Success %. RvP has 3 more assists than Cavani, but this could be attributed to the quality of their team. However, what one can’t deny is that RvP has a whopping 200% Key Passes / Match rate of Cavani, which is, simply said, great. Cavani, though, pulls one back having more throughballs and longballs per match. In short, if your team has strikers who have such great passing numbers, you’re lucky !
If Cavani does come to Chelsea, he better come close to or better Robin van Persie, because if he doesn’t, fans will start questioning his worth not taking into account the hardwork put in defending for the team or harassing the opponent’s midfielders from behind to nick the ball. As far as I know, Cavani has the skillset to not only thrive but succeed in every league in the world. Comparing him to RvP in terms of goals will be unfair as he is a goal-machine, whereas Cavani is a “COMPLETE FORWARD” in the fullest sense of the word!
Thanks to WhoScored.com for the stats