It seems to be a weekly occurrence that the rumour mill links Edinson Cavani or Radamel Falcao with a move to England, with Chelsea, Manchester City and evenly recently Arsenal linked as a potential destination. They are, after all, the two most complete strikers in world football, and neither play for what most people would class as a massive club - certainly not in terms of being a regular in the Champions League - so a move to a team that competes regularly in Europe’s top competition, as well as the huge contract that comes with it, would likely be an attractive option for both players.
Given Wenger’s frugality over the past decade, it’s difficult to see him splashing out more than €50m - there’s no way either player goes for less than that – on a single player, even if he is arguably the best available in that position. City, too, seems unlikely as they have four very good forwards in their squad and one very talented young striker in John Guidetti, who isn’t even getting a look in. Granted, they have a seemingly endless transfer kitty, but if the results don’t improve you have to wonder whether their owners will back an under pressure Mancini with such substantial funds again.
Both players being linked with Chelsea, is understandable, though; their star forward, Fernando Torres, just isn’t scoring goals. They have plenty of players that are capable of creating chances, but nobody clinical enough to really capitalise on them; if they did, they would be top of the table. Also, a deal between Falcao and Chelsea could potentially make sense, and there may be the option of sending Fernando Torres, who is clearly unhappy at Stamford Bridge, back to Atletico Madrid, which would reduce the fee and would likely work for both club and player.
Still, it’s incredibly difficult to decide who the better forward is. Both have almost identical goalscoring records for club and country, and would command similar transfer fees and wages. Falcao is a year older, but he missed of his career in 2006 with a serious injury, which perhaps makes him somewhat of a risk – although it didn’t put Atletico off spending €40m on him. Some would claim that La Liga is a tougher league than Serie A to succeed in – I don’t particularly buy in to that – but there really is little to separate the two.
At Palermo, Cavani was never given a proper chance as the main forward; it wasn’t until he joined Napoli and Walter Mazzarri made him the focal point of their attack that he became such a prolific striker. He had to play second fiddle to Amauri, and once he left to join Juventus it was Fabrizio Miccoli who was played through the middle. Cavani was forced to play in a wide role rather than as a central striker, which was a surprise considering his build and it was his natural position, whereas Miccoli is an exciting, diminutive player who does his best work when given the freedom to roam.
Since moving to Naples, though, his form has been incredible. He consistently scores all different types of goals and even this season, following the departure of Ezequiel Lavezzi who was his prime creator of chances, he’s been equally prolific and is on course for his most productive season yet. He keeps himself in tremendous physical shape and is extremely durable, playing over 130 times during the last two-and-a-half seasons. He’d fit in perfectly as the lone forward in Chelsea’s system, with Mata, Hazard and Oscar playing off him, and at 6’2” has a similar frame to former striker Didier Drogba.
Whilst Falcao has been equally prolific, and is more than capable of playing as a lone forward – he played it for Porto, though he did have support from Hulk in what was more of a 4-3-3 – last season he had Adrian playing up front with him, who would drop deeper with Falcao the more advanced of the two. Whilst only 5’9” he has a tremendous leap on him which makes him a real threat in the air, but he doesn’t quite pose the same threat as a lone forward that Cavani does, particularly when playing against the more physical sides. That’s not to say he couldn’t do it, of course, but the odds don’t stack in his favour as much as they do with Cavani.
Both are more than capable of playing as the lone forward, score all different types of goals, and would infinitely improve any team in the world. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m a Calcio aficionado, but if Chelsea were to pick one, they should go with El Matador over El Tigre, especially with City sniffing about.