Over the past couple of hours and as I put pen to paper now, rumours are circulating, both in Italy and England, that we have agreed a fee with Napoli for one of the most sought after players in Europe, Edinson Cavani. The figure is in the region of an eye-watering £53.5million which would equal the sum we paid Liverpool in January 2011. Of course with that price tag, comes the expectations from the owner, manager and the fans alike to deliver the goods and stick the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis. Now past purchases point towards us having a habit of splashing out of expensive strikers, only to see them struggle for form & fitness once they arrive at Chelsea. Chris Sutton (£10m in ’98 28 app, 1 goal), Andriy Shevchenko (£30m in ’06 48 app, 9 goals) & of course Fernando Torres, who admittedly experienced a nice run of form towards the end of last season comes in at (£50m in ’11, 131 apps, 35 goals) (Stats from BBC Sport website) so this shows that throwing money at a problem position doesn’t necessarily mean a great return in terms of goals.
Now we can say Cavani’s stats are abit more impressive than the 3 players I’ve already mentioned. Since joining Napoli in July 2010 his Serie A goal record stands at 78, which over that 2 year period makes him the leading scorer in Italy (via @Optajoe) but of course will stand for nothing IF he joins Chelsea because the Premier League is such a demanding league. I very much doubt that actual chances being created would be the problem but more over his ability to deal with the burden of such a huge price tag and being able to deal with the pressure the media will no doubt exert on him to deliver. If I personally had a choice (and what a fortunate position to be in) between Cavani and Falcao, I’d honestly choose Cavani every time. They are similar in style of play but Cavani for me seems a little more mobile on the pitch and with that in mind, I’d choose him. I also think that Falcao was over-priced and Monaco paid too much for him. Of course, this isn’t taking away the fact he is a great player, he’ll absolutely shine in Ligue 1 next season and he’ll get the plaudits from every corner of Europe for that but for me, Cavani would be my preferred choice.
Also, all this speculation throws into doubt the future of Torres, Ba & to a degree Lukaku (although I think the latter will be sent out on loan again to continue his development) With Torres I think, if he’s moved on we, the fans, will look back on his time at Chelsea as a wasted opportunity and abit of a “flim-flam” He arrived and immediately everyone was taken in by the price tag and the fact he’d scored with consummate ease at Liverpool, but for whatever reason its just not worked out for him. Anchelotti always claimed he was a player HE wanted and not a vanity buy for the owner. He left after 6 months. AVB, brought in to move the club forward lasted another 6 months. Torres never really played well for either. Robbie was the next in line and there was glimpse of the “old Torres” (THAT goal against Barca) but again, never really reached the heights of old. Romans’ final throw of the dice was Benitez and there was a marked improvement but the ‘Interim’ one was never going to be a permanent fixture at the club. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if, in the coming days and/or weeks, as the Cavani transfer sage gathers pace, we see the lump figure drop by a considerable amount and Torres inserted into the deal. The opportunity to link up with Benitez again in a less demanding league may be too good of an offer to turn down for Fernando, especially at 29 years of age. Demba Ba hasn’t really had a consistent run of games since signing from Newcastle, mainly down to Benitez rotating the squad so much with the amount of games we played last season, no doubting his ability but he will be probably judged in his first full season with us. A ‘Cavani/Ba’ partnership (If Mourinho would play such a system) would be mouth-watering.
Finally, who ever we sign, one thing is for sure; They will have the unconditional support from the fans. Torres is a prime example of such hospitality which isn’t bad from a set of fans the media seem intent on jumping on in a negative way at any given opportunity. I’d be happy with Cavani, but I always give a cautious assessment of any big money striker who we sign or are linked with because really, excluding Hasselbaink, Zola & Didier, we’ve not really had THAT much luck with a consistent 25/30-goal-a-season striker. I mean if we’re looking for an already proven premier league goal scorer, what harm would it cause looking at Michu or Dzeko?! Cheaper options with absolutely no danger of them being any worse then the talent we’ve already got.
We’re all looking forward to the new season already. Lets make sure, whoever we sign, we get behind them and support the team and the decisions the manager makes.
Thanks for reading
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