Edinson Cavani celebrates in grand fashion.
But what looks prodigious on a roster printout doesn’t always pan out in reality.
Chelsea experienced its worse year this past season in the Barclays Premier League since 2002. The club could use improvements in many areas after going 18-10-10 and finishing sixth.
While both scoring and goals against were issues in 2011-2012, which is the more significant need heading into this year?
If one opts for the former, Cavani certainly qualifies as an upgrade over the departed Didier Drogba. The 25-year-old forward averaged 24-plus goals over the past two seasons for Napoli in Serie A competition.
The leading scorers for Chelsea were Daniel Sturridge and Frank Lampard with just 11 goals.
On the other hand, the Blues recently signed attacking midfielder Eden Hazard and two solid pass-and-move players in Marko Marin and Oscar (dos Santos Emboaba, Jr.).
These latter signings will prove as good setup men for Fernando Torres and the other strikers and perhaps even Hazard.
Furthermore, Cavani comes with substantial financial implications.
In a piece published just yesterday in the Daily Mail, Sami Mokbel reports that the Uruguayan national wants £150,000 per week. This doesn’t even take into account the £35 million in transfer fees required to extract Cavani from Napoli.
Which is the bigger need for Chelsea?
That amounts to $184,000 per week and nearly $55 million in U.S. dollars for those Americans unfamiliar with the exchange rate with the British pound.
The Daily Mail also reports that owner Roman Abramovich is unwilling to fork over the exorbitant amount.
Additionally, what about the well-established uncertainty of players’ effectiveness when switching leagues?
Will the increase in competition or even cultural differences prevent Cavani from making a smooth transfer to the EPL?
I’m inclined to believe that he can make a successful transition based off a couple things.
The striker has a rather prolific track record over the past two years for Napoli. He also has invaluable experience playing in the 2010 World Cup, tallying a goal and an assist on the mighty international stage.
Then again, being a talented finisher in one league doesn’t ensure the same success in another. He may look really good on paper, but that’s never a guarantee.
Finally, Chelsea should move away from the prospects of Cavani and target some quality defenders.
The club has already acquired multiple midfielders in addition to the capable pre-existing forwards on the roster.
Also, the monetary obstacles associated with signing Cavani and others (i.e. Hulk), and the deficiencies on defense seem to supersede the positive gains with signing a striker.
The 6’5’’ Petr Cech still maintains himself as one of the better goalkeepers in the game, although with slightly diminished skills at age 30. It is the defenders in front of him that need upgrading.
Stated succinctly, Chelsea needs to end its chase for Edinson Cavani.
Bigger needs exist for this club.
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