Chelsea have joined Atletico Madrid in the hunt for Edinson Cavani after the Uruguayan told Paris St-Germain he wants to leave, according to reports.
Cavani, 32, will see his current contract expire in the summer but he has sought to force a January exit after handing in a transfer request.
Chelsea to sign Cavani? Five things to know…
- Cavani’s present deal expires at the end of the season but the striker looks set to leave this month.
- The 32-year-old has formally requested a January transfer, according to The Times.
- Lampard has said: “He’s a great player, I played against him and I always loved his mentality and attitude, and obviously his goalscoring record speaks for itself.”
- The Blues boss has often lamented his side’s lack of cutting edge this season and has called on his players to “be more clinical” in front of goal…
- …Cavani is as clinical as they come. He scored the second-most big chances in Ligue 1 last season (17) and had the second-best goals per 90 minutes ratio for players with 20+ appearances (0.97).
Could Lampard’s transfer swoop for Cavani tilt top four race in Chelsea’s favour?
Despite boasting the Premier League’s sixth highest goalscorer this season in Tammy Abraham (13), Lampard has previously criticised his side’s lack of ruthlessness in the final third.
We can’t absolutely rely on Tammy Abraham. We have to have goals from across the frontline if we want to bridge the gap upwards
The Blues fired a blank over the weekend with Newcastle scoring at the death to nick three points on Tyneside, though Chelsea were fortunate to keep the gap between fourth and fifth at five points after results elsewhere went their way.
After the match at St. James’ Park Lampard said his players “have to be more clinical” in opposition territory. Although Abraham has excelled this season, there remains a lack of cutting edge since the departure of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.
And so, following Chelsea’s initial two-window transfer embargo being lifted, Lampard could now be getting his hands on a player whose name is almost synonymous with goalscoring proficiency. A marksman who has found the back of the net 198 times in 292 matches for PSG since relocating from Napoli in 2013.
👏 Edinson Cavani has more goals for PSG than any other player in the club's history:
👕 292 games
⚽️ 198 goals
🏆 20 trophies
💪 El Matador is looking for the next challenge. pic.twitter.com/LmkqaShNOa
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) January 20, 2020
With Harry Kane unavailable to Spurs until mid-April and Marcus Rashford recently suffering a back injury which could keep him out for three months, Chelsea will be gaining the upper hand in the top four race should Cavani pitch up at Stamford Bridge.
Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi have proven underwhelming back-ups to Abraham, while the likes of Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount have struggled to consistently chip in with the goals – Cavani could alleviate those limitations in front of goal.
“Short term is something we would look at,” said Lampard. At 32, Cavani would certainly be a short term answer to his frontline quandary, but could prove an inspired piece of transfer activity. Chelsea fans will be hoping this is not another Radamel Falcao, Gonzalo Higuain or Alexandre Pato, though Lampard certainly ‘doesn’t think so’.
He said: “Each case is different and whether it’s worked or not in certain cases I wouldn’t let that cloud my thinking.”
As far as line-ups are concerned, Cavani can lead the line as the sole centre-forward, or he could work wonders in an unorthodox partnership with Abraham, which he has often done so alongside Kylian Mbappe in Paris…
Who are the big winners and losers if Cavani makes Chelsea transfer?
- Frank Lampard: The 41-year-old would be getting his hands on a world class striker who can add elite-level firepower to his frontline, while also bringing experience and offering Abraham guidance.
- Mason Mount: The attacking midfielder started the season like a house on fire but has made just two direct goalscoring contributions in his last 13 league games. With Cavani playing ahead of him, those numbers should increase exponentially, which is crucial with Euro 2020 fast approaching.
- Inter Milan: Make no mistake Cavani to Chelsea will be an expensive transfer despite the Uruguayan’s age and contract status, meaning the club will look to offset the outlay with potential sales and that could speed up Olivier Giroud’s purported deal to Inter.
- Atletico Madrid: Diego Simeone’s side have long been frontrunners to secured Cavani’s signature, having already seen a bid rejected by the Parisians, and will no doubt feel hard done by if the Uruguayan rejects them for Chelsea.
- Tammy Abraham: There is no better education for a young striker than learning from a player of Cavani’s quality, but we’re no longer talking about a player in rapid development. Abraham has already established himself as a fine goalscorer and could see his minutes significantly reduced if Cavani joins Chelsea. Sure, Lampard could push Abraham over to the wing where he has experience at youth level and for Aston Villa with success, but equally, this could destroy his rhythm and disrupt his flow.
- Chelsea’s top-four rivals: Not only have Man Utd and Spurs been linked with Cavani themselves, but Chelsea signing a world class striker will put them in the ascendency to clinch a top four place. In this current moment Chelsea are 4/11* to finish in a Champions League qualification spot.