5 strikers who could replace Edinson Cavani at Paris Saint-Germain
- Paris Saint-Germain's record goalscorer Edinson Cavani is set to leave the French capital on a free transfer this summer.
Paris Saint-Germain’s record goalscorer Edinson Cavani looks set to part ways with the French champions following a memorable seven-year spell. The Uruguayan hitman, who has scored 200 goals in 301 appearances for the Parisians, has endured off-the-pitch troubles with the management and his teammates and this has deteriorated his relationship with the club.
The 33-year-old recently mentioned that January was a difficult month for him following a failed move away from the Parc des Princes. With Mauro Icardi displacing him as the first-choice centre-forward, Cavani was desperate to join Spanish heavyweights Atletico Madrid whilst also attracting interest from Premier League duo Chelsea and Manchester United. His contract expiration in the summer will now allow him to leave the French capital on a free transfer, thereby igniting a battle for his signature ahead of the next season.
Meanwhile, PSG will look to replace Cavani in the summer transfer window with a host of options available in the market. Without further ado, we take a look at five strikers who could replace the Uruguayan and provide much-needed competition to Icardi next season.
#5 Kevin Gameiro
Former Paris Saint-Germain front-man Kevin Gameiro could return to the French capital after impressing with his goalscoring exploits in Spain. The 32-year-old had moved on from the Ligue 1 heavyweights in 2013 after scoring just 23 goals in 77 appearances as a young striker. However, he made his name at Sevilla where he scored 67 goals over three seasons, earning him a transfer to Atletico Madrid.
After a brief spell in the Spanish capital, Gameiro joined Valencia ahead of the 2018-19 season, a club he dreamed of joining as a youth player. The Frenchman has 19 goals and 10 assists in one-and-a-half-seasons at the Mestalla despite facing stiff competition from two equally-talented strikers in Rodrigo and Maxi Gomez.
The four-time Europa League winner is often labeled as a 'pocket dynamo' with his all-round attacking gameplay. His relentless work rate and lightening pace are difficult for opponent defenders to handle and although the forward is diminutive in stature, he is extremely physical and strong on the ball.
Having proved himself as a goalscorer on some of Europe’s biggest stages, Gameiro would surely fancy a return to his home country where he could not only prove to be a brilliant dressing-room addition but also a more-than-capable stand-in for Icardi.
#4 Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud has recently been thrust back in the Chelsea front-fold by manager Frank Lampard following Tammy Abraham’s injury concerns. The Frenchman was signed by the Blues from cross-town rivals Arsenal after his successful six-year stay at the Emirates Stadium.
The 33-year-old striker made over 250 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 105 goals and providing another 41 assists. He also three lifted three FA Cup trophies during that time.
Although he only managed to score just two Premier League goals for Chelsea in his debut season at Stamford Bridge, Giroud proved his worth in the Londoners’ Europa League campaign where he was awarded the competition’s Golden Boot award for his unmatched 11 goals. Ironically, he scored in the final against his former employers as Chelsea thrashed Arsenal 4-1 in Baku.
The 2018 World Cup winner has been the second choice to Abraham throughout this Premier League campaign but his recent strikes against Tottenham Hotspur and Everton have once again made him an integral part of Lampard’s set-up.
Giroud is undoubtedly one of the best target men in world football with his close control, hold-up play and positional intelligence. In addition to being a remarkable goalscorer, he is an extremely selfless striker who creates chances for others around him by exchanging passes inside the box and allowing others to make runs off him.
The former Montpellier frontman is known for his clever movement and incredible finishing which Paris Saint-Germain can benefit from. With Cavani departing, Giroud would pounce on an opportunity to return to his home nation where he could do an excellent job as a back-up striker to Icardi.
#3 Arkadiusz Milik
Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik has had a significant impact in Italy despite playing second-fiddle to Dries Mertens since his arrival from Dutch giants Ajax in 2016. The Polish striker only managed to score 10 Serie A goals in his first two seasons but had an incredible 2018-19 campaign where he managed to net 17 goals and provide 3 assists as the Italian heavyweights finished in second place behind Juventus.
The 26-year-old, despite having an injury-ravaged campaign so far, has still managed to get on the scoresheet 9 times in the Serie A and 3 times in the Champions League. He is an out-and-out centre-forward but his outrageous left-foot and playmaking ability allow him to slot in on the wings or alongside another striker. The Pole can act as a goal poacher, a target man, a provider and even a runner which showcases his incredible versatility in attack.
Milik could undoubtedly provide tough competition to Icardi, who tends to be inconsistent in front of goal. Cavani is evidently being pushed out of the club following his rifts with the Paris Saint-Germain hierarchy and the Napoli striker would be a perfect replacement for the Uruguayan.
At 26, Milik’s best days are still in front of him and having already proven himself in the Eredivisie, Serie A and with the Poland national team, he is ready to take the next big leap of his career.
#2 Gonzalo Higuain
Having been heavily linked with Paris Saint-Germain in the January transfer window, Gonzalo Higuain could rejuvenate his career with the French giants next season. The former Napoli forward has been all over Europe recently with loan spells at Milan and Chelsea before rejoining Juventus at the start of this season. He has 16 goal contributions in all competitions this term despite constant rotation with Paulo Dybala in attack.
The 32-year-old has been one of the world football’s best centre-forwards in the last decade or so, proving himself in some of Europe’s biggest teams like Real Madrid, Napoli, and Juventus. He holds the record for the most number goals (36) in a single Serie A season and is also Argentina’s third top-scorer of all time with 31 goals and 75 international caps. He has three La Liga titles, two Serie A titles, one Europa League and a World Cup runners-up medal to his name.
A powerhouse in attack, the Argentine is a world-class finisher, technical master and an intelligent poacher who has an excellent eye for goal. He can also drop deep, hold up the ball and link-up with his teammates. However, what makes him a generational talent is his incredible movement inside the box. He can lose markers at will and get on the end of passes to score goals from everywhere.
Higuain’s prime days are behind him but he can still be an influential player at any top club in world football. With Cavani departing, Paris Saint-Germain bosses can bring in his experience, maturity, and genius to the club.
#1 Wissam Ben Yedder
One of the hottest strikers in world football right now, Wissam Ben Yedder’s stock has significantly increased over the past few years. The Frenchman moved to Monaco in the summer after a successful three-year stint in the south of Spain. Ben Yedder scored 70 times for Sevilla in all competitions before switching for the Ligue 1 outfit.
The French striker has continued his form ever since, racking up an incredible 19 goals and 9 assists in 31 appearances this season. Monaco have had a largely inconsistent campaign under manager Robert Moreno so far which finds them in lowly 9th on the table. Ben Yedder, however, has been the only positive influence on the team in attack which has attracted interest from some of the elite European clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester United.
However, the 29-year-old could remain in France to join reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain in what would be an exciting signing for Thomas Tuchel’s side. Ben Yedder is a prototype fox-in-the-box with his positional intelligence allowing him to get in the right places at the right time. He is a tricky customer in attack who likes working the offensive channels by stretching the defenders and finding dangerous pockets of space.
With his excellent reading of the game and brilliant finishing in the final third, Ben Yedder can usurp Icardi in attack if he were to join the Parisians. The striker is in the form of his life and could go up another level alongside the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Published 13 Mar 2020, 13:22 IST