Blog Written by Asif Norat (@HerreraTekkers):
Edinson Cavani is a player I enjoy watching, his name rose up once he joined Napoli in 2010. Everyone was reporting the news about him; it took a few Napoli games to watch until you could tell there was something special about him. He scored 26 Serie A goals in his debut season, which was just one less compared to his last two seasons at Palermo combined. It felt like his breakthrough into becoming a world-class player had started. He also found it difficult to perform in the national team, but 2010 was the year things starts going well for him. Cavani scored a key goal in the 2010 World Cup, as the national team finished as the fourth best team. That year for Cavani has to go down as one of the most vital years of his football career, what a player he is.
Wanted man at Napoli
Cavani has always been a natural nine, which allowed him to get at least 30 goals each season for Napoli. The South American had a wonderful three seasons at Napoli, 104 goals in 138 appearances, which led to him being linked with all the best teams around the world. Napoli announced his £53million buyout clause, which shortened the list of clubs he could potentially move to.
Laurent Blanc made an instant statement when becoming Paris Saint-Germain’s coach, making Edinson Cavani the first signing of the summer. Blanc made his thoughts clear and spoke about the striker: "He's a player I love, as do a lot of other people. I saw him play many times for Napoli and for Uruguay and, if it's possible to add him to the squad, I'd be very happy.” Despite the high appraisal for Cavani by Blanc, he still doesn’t quite fit into the Frenchman’s system. Previous manager Carlo Ancelotti played the 4-4-2 formation, which could have worked well to get the best out of Cavani and Ibrahimovic at the same time.
Cavani’s style of play has been really impressive to watch, always working hard till the whistle is blown. A natural goal scorer since his European transfer move to Palermo in 2007, he can score fantastic goals either from a header or with his feet. When the team does haven’t possession, some strikers don’t do much, but Cavani’s case is different, he will hunt down any player close to him to retrieve the ball back for his side.
Napoli had a very consistent trio partnership in Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamisk, which was the best partnership in Serie A and also had some rough moments against Giorgio Chiellini when they were up against each other. During his time at Napoli, his team-mate Marek Hamsik had a few words to say about him: “I think he is among the best five strikers in the world right now, alongside Messi, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Falcao.”
Time at PSG
Paris Saint-Germain signed Edinson Cavani in 2013, who still holds the record as the most expensive player purchased by a French team. The Uruguayan international has scored 17 goals in 38 appearances for the French giants, despite being played out of position for most of this season. Cavani has always been the alternative option to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, when it comes to who should lead the line-up in the centre-forward role.
Cavani was in the form of his life during his time at Napoli, completing 36 goals and four assists in Serie A and Europa League during his final season at the Italian club before making his big money move to PSG on a five-year-deal. Cavani joined one season after Ibrahimovic did, but he wasn’t expecting any difficulties and the main one being under the Swedish striker’s shadow.
Cavani’s debut season started off very well, in his second appearance for the side he scored his first goal for PSG and completed four goals in five matches during PSG’s group stage in the Champions League. His first season ended with the striker scoring 16 goals in 30 appearances, carrying on his fine form from Italy showing why he is one of the best striker’s in the world. He didn’t do good enough to compete with his previous season’s stats due to poster boy Ibrahimovic always being ahead of him in order for the main striker role at the club. The same season, Zlatan completed 26 goals in 33 appearances with ease, having the upper hand being used in his best position whilst Cavani was placed on the wings.
Cavani has lost a lot of confidence whilst at PSG, at times when Ibrahimovic was injured he couldn’t deliver when he needed to. Starting to become a frustrating player to watch, but it does come down to his own fault a bit when he should be taking a big chance like that. The PSG fans have mixed feelings for him lately, some want him gone and someone want to keep him if Ibrahimovic leaves the club on a free transfer.
Not long ago French paper L’Equipe mentioned Edinson Cavani isn’t happy with the way he is treated at the club and wants a move away from PSG for a challenge where he can play in his best position again. The current season a lot of talk has increased about Cavani’s behaviour turning into a problem, which could show a sign he has had enough and PSG may be willing to sell him off in the summer.
If Cavani does leave the French champions this summer, a move to the Premier League would seem very ideal for him. A challenge at Arsenal or Manchester United would be fantastic for him, two teams that need a world-class striker. The natural abilities Cavani has will make him settle into England very well, as long as he starts in his best position, which is central striker.
With the current situations both Arsenal and Manchester United are in, Arsenal would be the best side for him to join. Since Robin Van Persie left Arsenal, the London side didn’t go on to buy a world-class striker to replace him and it could be a good time to sign Cavani in the summer. Theo Walcott and Oliver Giroud have been on and off this season, Arsenal started the season off impressively and were on top of the league three times just before 2016.
If Cavani was in this Arsenal side, with the way how Mesut Ozil has been on form this season, without a doubt they would be on top of the league by five to ten points. Cavani would have been a massive upgrade from Walcott and Giroud, Arsene Wenger got a lot of stick for only buying a goalkeeper in the summer.
Now with Manchester United, they are going through a tough period and haven’t been on track since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. David Moyes and Manchester United was an awful pair, but Louis Van Gaal came in and splashed over £200M on signings yet the club still hasn’t progressed. Cavani could make a difference if he signs Manchester United, but under Louis Van Gaal even the best players at the club can’t fulfil their potential.
With a lot rumours building up on Jose Mourinho taking over, it could question if the Special One would be interested in Edinson Cavani. Mourinho may not be the manager to play entertaining football, but he likes his players to have certain abilities, could be a big factor with Cavani being a realistic signing in the summer. This could also mean Ibrahimovic might be a Mourinho target in the summer too.
Last option for Cavani would be returning to Serie A, which means only one team could actually afford the fee and wages, current champions Juventus. It would be a tough choice for the striker to make, it could upset his ex-team Napoli and the fans but Cavani needs to make a serious decision on what’s next for him. He has had enough of PSG and Laurent Blanc, Cavani will definitely be looking for a big club to save him.
Blog Written by Adam Stapleford (@asfooty1984)
As we move into a two week international break, many Bundesliga clubs will have several players representing their countries, but when Germany's top flight starts again, expect an exciting end to the campaign. With many scenarios still up in the air, top to bottom, the remaining games will bring much nail biting to the supporters of these clubs.
The top two have pulled away from the chasing pack. Bayern Munich currently lead Borussia Dortmund by five points, but any slip up by Bayern could see Dortmund pounce. The two clubs shared the spoils on March 5th, drawing 0-0 at Signal Iduna Park. The previous meeting in October saw Bayern thump Dortmund 5-1. Despite that, Dortmund keep fighting on and will surely push Bayern all the way in the remaining games.
Even more excitement could lie in who gets the final two Champions League spots. They are currently filled by Hertha Berlin and Schalke, but expect that to change hands many times before the season ends. The surprise package of the season is Hertha, they have climbed to the third spot, despite many writing them off. And with only seven games remaining, they have a six-point advantage over 5th spot, currently filled by Gladbach. Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, and Mainz are all in the running too, with Leverkusen still having to play Hertha, Schalke and Gladbach in their remaining seven matches. Hertha visit Mainz on the final day, which could be a blockbuster if both sides are still fighting it out, to be in Europe's greatest club competition next season.
Then, we move to the bottom end of the table where Hannover already seem doomed,10 points adrift of safety, Thomas Schaaf's men look destined to play in the second tier next season, but the teams above them all are in the shake up. Frankfurt, who defeated Hannover last weekend, currently sit in the final relegation spot, while Hoffenheim fill the play-off position. From 16th place to 9th place, the clubs are only separated by six points, moving into the final seven games. Frankfurt travel to Werder Bremen, who are in 14th, and only one point clear of the relegation/promotion playoff, on the final day. Augsburg, in the 15th spot, currently level on points with Hoffenheim, entertain Hamburg on the final day, who themselves are only 4 points from the play-off spot, and before then many clubs have to play each other. So expect nerves all round for Koln, Ingolstadt, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Darmstadt, Werder Bremen, Augsburg, Hoffenheim and Frankfurt, until the final whistle blows.
All European leagues still have major decisions to sort out between now and May, including titles, European spots and relegation, but the Bundesliga will take some beating. As we speak, if you don't write Hannover off just yet, all 18 clubs have something to play for, so get ready for exciting times as the 2015-2016 Bundesliga campaign comes to an end.