Who: Edinson Cavani
From Where: Paris St. Germain
To Where: Atlético Madrid
For How Much: TBD
Grade for Atlético: A
Grade for PSG: A
EDINSON CAVANI TO ATLETICO MADRID OVERVIEW
It’s hard to think of a bigger win-win. Among Champions League contenders, who’s in more need of scoring help than Diego Simeone’s club? No one. And how many guys with Cavani’s credentials are currently on the outside looking in as far as playing time at their current club? I’d argue that the answer to that, too, is “no one.”
So the knee-jerk reaction is that this is an outstanding fit. At the risk of overreacting let’s overreact – isn’t that the whole point of transfer coverage? – this absolutely affects the La Liga title and top 4 race. And it might even make Liverpool-Atleti in the Champions League round of 16 that much more interesting.
WHO IS HE?
Edinson Cavani, 32, needs no introduction. At this point, he’s obviously not an ascending player, and his prime is behind him. However, he’s still a guy with 46 (!) goals the last two seasons in Ligue 1. You can have your doubts about the quality of that league and still have no problem recognizing how impressive that kind of output is.
The man has 337 career goals. The list of active players with anywhere near that many is incredibly short. It’s also not like we’re talking about a guy who is over the hill. He “slowed down” last year to finish with just 18 goals and five assists in Ligue, a year after an absurd 35-goal (28 in Ligue 1, 7 in the UCL) campaign in ’17-18.
He’s lost his spot to Mauro Icardi this year, hence the reported move. However, he remains an imposing player that instantly gives his new team’s attack a massive upgrade.
IS THE PRICE FAIR?
This is a tough question to answer until we, you know, know the price. It’s also unclear whether this move will happen during the January window or this summer. Cavani’s PSG contract is up in June, and one would assume this deal is going through within the next few weeks, but let’s wait until the name is on the dotted line to give our reaction on the fee. Typically, we’ll refer to a widely-speculated fee – whether it ends up being the amount a team pays is another conversation – but in this case, I haven’t seen one.
WHAT IMPACT SHOULD WE EXPECT?
If Atleti and PSG find a way to make this move happen in January, he arrives in the Spanish capital with plenty of time to be comfortable with his new teammates by the Feb. 18 UCL clash with Liverpool. At 32, health and durability are obviously legit question marks, but on paper, this seems like an absolutely perfect fit. We could explore all the reasons Atleti has struggled to score this season, but for now, I’d rather just state what we all agree on: 20 goals in 18 league games is nowhere near enough. And the output wasn’t going to change dramatically without a new face or two.
Cavani wasn’t even on my radar as one of the possible solutions to Atleti’s scoring problems — it seemed to me like they’d add Valencia’s Rodrigo, if anyone — so this strikes me as the best possible answer to Los Rojiblancos’ biggest question.
Atleti (A): Officially beating a dead horse here, but this is a team filling as glaring a need as you could possibly have with a solution Simeone has to be absolutely thrilled with. This could become an A- or an A+ depending on the price and the minor detail of when he arrives in Madrid, but right now, it’s clearly an A.
PSG (B): Have I mentioned that I’d love to know the price and details on when the move is happening? It’s hard to give a team a ton of love for parting ways with a player of Cavani’s caliber, but they’re surely going to get a lot of money. And if there’s any team deep enough up top to defensibly shed someone like Cavani, it’s a PSG squad that boasts Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel di Maria and Icardi, to name their four other elite strikers that immediately come to mind.