PSG: Cavani the next to join the crazy summer in France
On Monday, the long-awaited departure of Edinson Cavani from Napoli occurred as he was unveiled as the fifth most expensive player of all-time with a move to Paris Saint-Germain. The Qatari project at the French champions continuing apace with the Uruguayan’s £55 million transfer.
It was also just another day in the summer or lunacy that has been played out by the two richest clubs in Ligue 1, PSG and Monaco, who have between them spent £165 million on James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho, Falcao and now Cavani. With three of that quartet heading to Monaco, PSG are to answer with moves for Lille left-back Lucas Digne and Roma centre-back Marquinhos for a combined £44 million. Like a chess match, Monaco are to reportedly answer that move with a mammoth €60 million deal for the Brazilian Hulk.
Quite where UEFA’s stance on Financial Fair Play, which has so far issued tough sanctions to Hajduk Split, Partizan Belgrade, NK Osijek and Malaga, has gone, remains to be seen. Frenchman Michel Platini seemingly willing to allow the two mega-rich Ligue 1 clubs through the loophole of sponsorship deals and positive projection of finances instead of entering the moral quandary of banning his own cubs from European competition.
PSG, a club who last year competed in the Champions League for the first time since 2004, have spent, up to €222 million as they sailed to their first French league title since 1994. As they defend it, they will be challenged intently by Monaco who have risen from Ligue 2 where they have spent two years since their relegation from the top tier in 2011.
The principality club have not won a trophy since their Coupe De Ligue triumph in 2003, their last league title coming at the turn of the millennium, but such barrenness is certain to end with the relentless spending of Russian Dmitriy Rybovlev, operating in a tax-free haven, and the goals of Falcao. PSG do not share the same luxury of being able to afford their stars wages free of tax, but they will have the goals of Edinson Cavani in answer to Monaco’s prolific Colombian.
With Cristiano Ronaldo flexing his imperious muscular strength on the left side of Madrid’s attack and Lionel Messi creating whole new positions with his withdrawn forward role at Barcelona, French football now houses arguably the three best centre-forwards in the world, with the two imports joining Zlatan Ibrahimovic, scorer of 35 goals last season. Cavani will link-up directly with the Swede in what will be a mouthwatering strike-force able to compete both domestically and on the continent.
Cavani arrives in the French capital with a scintillating scoring record of 104 goals in 138 games with Napoli, who ultimately fell short of providing him with his ambition of sustained silverware, the Coppa Italia of 2012 his only trophy since leaving Uruguay in 2006. His robust physical strength, electric pace and unerring finish striking up a reputation for one of the most feared strikers in Europe. El Matador is the nickname, encapsulating his flamboyance, yet cold-blooded lack of fear on the pitch.
At PSG he will fit into an embarrassment of riches that new manager Laurent Blanc finds at his disposal. Ibrahimovic is already in place and scoring for fun, whilst Ezequiel Lavezzi, whom Cavani spent three years with at Napoli, is primed to build on an impressive first season at the Parc Des Princes. If that is not firepower enough, Javier Pastore, Jeremy Menez and Lucas Moura will provide the support and drive from deep.
PSG, ultimately undone by Barcelona in the quarter finals of last season’s Champions League, have intensified their spending and are back, ready to go further on the biggest stage as well as launch a period of sustained dominance domestically. With Cavani, there is little doubt that can be achieved.
On the latter objective however, they will face competition from their fellow huge spenders Monaco who are likely to partner them in a two-sided hegemony over French football for the foreseeable future. With their squads spearheaded by the imperious £55 million Cavani and the £51 million Falcao, two of the most deadly modern strikers, it will take far more than major investment from a separate club to split the duopoly of PSG and Monaco over in France.
But it’s all Financial Fair Play though, isn’t it?