Hulk or Edinson Cavani: Who'd Be Better for Chelsea and Why

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIAugust 22, 2012

Hulk or Edinson Cavani: Who'd Be Better for Chelsea and Why

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    According to latest reports, Chelsea is looking to bring in one more striker over the summer transfer window, with the two most likely candidates being Porto striker Hulk and Napoli striker Edinson Cavani (per The Sun). 

    Both have been long-standing interests for the Blues this summer, as Roberto Di Matteo looks to increase his attacking options for the season ahead.

    However, even with Roman Abramovich's spending habits, it is highly unlikely that Chelsea will sign both Hulk and Cavani over the summer—they will have to make a choice on which striker is the better fit and option at Stamford Bridge.

    So who would be the better option for Chelsea: Would it be Hulk, or would it be Cavani? In light of everything that both players bring to the table, who should Chelsea be looking to bring in over the summer transfer window and who should they be looking to pass on?

    We'll explore 10 categories throughout this article to help us figure out who the Blues should sign this summer and why—ranging from creativity to goal scoring, defending to temperament.

    Hulk or Cavani? Read on to find out.

Attacking Ability

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    I know this might sound like a rather generic one to begin with, but the attacking ability that Hulk and Cavani both possess going forward is of key importance to being the Blues go-to striker for this season.

    The Porto striker is faster and stronger than his Napoli counterpart, but then you'd have to say that Cavani is more agile and versatile in attack.

    Both possess the ability to score great goals from a myriad of places; both are brilliant attacking players in their own right, making this one almost impossible to split. We'll need to break this down further in order to gain some insight.

    Advantage: Push (slight edge Hulk)

Finishing Ability

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    Hulk possesses one of the most powerful shots in world football, but whether or not he has the same finishing ability of Cavani is debatable.

    The 25-year-old Cavani is simply a natural finisher in front of goal—be it in the air or on the ground—and is a commanding presence up front for any team.

    Hulk too is excellent in front of goal—no doubt there—but the advantage has to go to the Napoli striker here.

    Advantage: Cavani


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    Whilst defending is not the primary responsibility of a striker, no manager in world football will tell you it isn't important in every player right across the pitch—regardless of whether they're a goalkeeper or a striker.

    Cavani thrives in the defensive aspects of the game—almost to the point where it can hinder his team by dropping back too far—and has a clear advantage over Hulk here, who doesn't offer much defensively.

    Advantage: Cavani

Aggression and Temperament

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    Another no-brainer here, Cavani clearly has the edge in terms of aggression and temperament. 

    Passion is normal and a great thing to see in a player, but when it comes at the expense of the team, it is a hindrance more than a benefit—so often the case with Hulk.

    Hulk's aggression has always been a problem—in 2009, he was banned for a brawl in the tunnel, which ultimately resulted in Porto finishing third in the Primeira Liga and missing out on Champions League football next season.

    Advantage: Cavani


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    It is here that Hulk's Brazilian heritage and skill come to the fore, as he clearly wins any discussion surrounding creativity.

    For a big man, Hulk has sublime technical ability and wonderful on-ball presence to embarrass defenders and spark an attack out of nothing—sometimes using the full width of the pitch to do so.

    Cavani is skilled and can score some wonderful goals, but simply doesn't have the creative bonus that Hulk would bring to the team.

    Advantage: Hulk

Team Chemistry

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    In terms of how the strikers would operate within Chelsea, I've got to give the edge here to Hulk—simply because of the fluidity he would bring to the Blues attack.

    With Hulk most probably out on the right,  and Hazard, Mata and Oscar sharing time throughout the middle, Chelsea would have the strongest attack in the Premier League hands-down.

    His recent combination with Oscar at the 2012 London Olympics and for Brazil in other national matches also gives him an edge over Cavani, who would ideally fill the role currently held by Fernando Torres.

    Advantage: Hulk

Goal Scoring

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    A striker will always be measured on the goals they score and the goals they create—at the end of the day, this is their job within the team.

    In his last two seasons as Porto, Hulk has netted 48 goals and nine assists in 73 appearances, whilst Cavani has chalked up 77 goals and 14 assists in his last 96 appearances for Napoli.

    They're different teams, tournaments and contexts, but on goal-scoring feats alone, Cavani does have an edge over Hulk, statistically speaking.

    Advantage: Cavani

Aerial Ability

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    In a league like the English one that is built around crosses and aerial strength, Cavani has a clear advantage over Hulk.

    Nearly one quarter of the Napoli striker's league goals last season were headers—making him a nightmare to defend on corners and a definite danger inside the box when the ball is traveling in front the wing.

    He doesn't have the strength of Hulk in the air, but he certainly makes it up for it in skill and in goals, giving him the edge here.

    Advantage: Cavani

Age and Experience

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    Hulk is 26, Cavani is 25 and in terms of age and experience, this one is a pretty even split.

    Both are regular starters for their countries—even earning overage selection for the recent 2012 London Olympics for their respective nations. 

    Cavani might have been playing professional football for a season longer, but there's no real way we can split the two of them here.

    Advantage: Push


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    Not that cost is that much of a big deal for Roman Abramovich, but it is interesting to see how the two players stack up in terms of who would cost the most to bring to Stamford Bridge.

    According to Transfermarkt, Hulk's current market value is at £32.5 million, whilst Cavani's is around £31 million—though both of these amounts are below what recent reports suggest they would cost to transfer.

    International Buisness Times has Hulk valued at around £40-45 million by Porto FC, whilst Cavani is believed to be the subject of a £35 million interest, according to The Sun.

    Thus in terms of cost, Cavani has an edge over Hulk—albeit one that is unlikely to affect the outcome of the transfer

    Advantage: Cavani

Overall: Edinson Cavani

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    In light of what we have learned about how the two players stack up, Chelsea would be better served going with Edinson Cavani than Hulk in my opinion.

    Cavani is a proven, clinical striker who simply offers more of a threat throughout attack and midfield than Hulk does. Combined with his defensive work and temperament, the Napoli striker makes sense as a transfer for the Blues, and it would be one that they would not regret making.

    Cavani for me is the top transfer target, with Hulk a more than suitable alternative if Di Matteo cannot negotiate a deal with him. He is just more a complete striker—a complete footballer—and one that would thrive in the English Premier League.


    What do you think? Should Chelsea pursue Hulk or Cavani?

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    All Hulk stats via ESPN Soccernet; all Cavani stats via ESPN Soccernet.