Edinson Cavani is making rumblings about leaving Paris Saint-Germain, with the Premier League being a likely destination should he leave the Parc des Princes.
Ahead of the French side’s Champions League encounter with Chelsea, the 27-year-old told L’Equipe, as relayed by Eurosport, that he had things to “talk about with the club” at season’s end, and that certain things had “to be done differently” at the Ligue 1 champions.
Pressed if he was mulling an exit, he replied, “Let’s finish the season first.” Asked if he fancied the English game, he responded, “Yes, a lot.”
Both outfits would no doubt be expected to stump somewhere near the £53 million PSG paid Napoli for the Uruguayan’s signature in July, but neither could much afford to miss out on him, either.
It’s not every day that a player of Cavani’s abilities agitates for a move. While both Chelsea and United would have rather different designs for him, they would both be looking to build around the Copa America winner’s extraordinary talents.
Chelsea, for one, have an obvious need for an out-and-out centre-forward, and on Saturday, Blues manager Jose Mourinho’s “I have no striker” comment, as reported by the Mirror, was once again backed up by an indifferent performance from Fernando Torres.
Cavani prefers to play in the middle of the front line, and his frequent deployment to the right of Zlatan Ibrahimovic quite possibly has something to do with his discontent at PSG.
Chelsea would accommodate that preference, and Cavani’s exceptional work rate and willingness to help out defensively would seem to make him the ideal Mourinho player.
United, meanwhile, could do with El Matador’s bullish approach, positional sense and aptitude on the counter-attack.
But whether or not they could offer a first-choice role at centre-forward is debatable.
The January acquisition of Juan Mata, and his own preference to play in the hole behind the striker, means that Cavani would displace one of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie up top, although at this point it’s uncertain whether Van Persie, who will be 31 in August, will even be back next season.
Cavani could always be pushed to one of the wide positions, where he also excels, but as this seems to have contributed to his unhappiness in the French capital it would likely be a non-starter.
Of course, the prospect of a mind-blowing wage packet could always sway Cavani, and to that end United could well go toe-to-toe with Chelsea, or even exceed them in personal terms. Their plans for a quickly-rebuilt squad will necessitate such offers during the summer.
United, it could be argued, have greater need for Cavani’s skill set than Chelsea, but in pure footballing terms the attacker looks a better fit at Stamford Bridge.
Neither club, however, can afford to miss out on the chance to sign him, and it could well be that desperation determines his destination.