Italian Expert On Why Cavani Won’t Join Arsenal (And Why He’d Wreak Havoc If He Did)
There is one thing worrying the good citizens of Naples more than anything else and that is whether Edinson Cavani will remain a Napoli player next season.
There has been plenty of speculation that the striker, who is gaining the same God-like status once enjoyed by Diego Maradona, will be tempted away by untold riches from the likes of Real Madrid - where his father feels his son’s talents are best suited - Manchester City, Chelsea or PSG.
In Italy, Juventus crave the Uruguayan more than any other player on the planet – and that includes Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - but Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis would never allow the northern enemy anywhere near his prized asset even if they were to hand over the whole of the FIAT plant as part payment.
Every day a new name pops up as a potential suitor and this despite the 60m euro buy-out clause in a contract that runs until 2016, but Arsenal is certainly a new one; and although Mario Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola believes that Cavani will leave at the end of the season, North London will not be his destination.
Raiola also looks after the interests of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cavani’s team-mate Marek Hamsik and has been touting Paris and a deadly partnership with Ibra and former Napoli frontman Ezequiel Lavezzi, but his prediction has not gone down well with Cavani’s current agent Claudio Anellucci who is probably the only person outside the striker’s close family who knows what the future might hold.
De Laurentiis was a little more certain of what lies ahead even if Arsene Wenger has his banker primed to spend big. The movie mogul claimed: “I don’t need Arsenal’s money or anyone else’s; I need Cavani.”
Just say Arsenal pulled off the transfer coup of the decade then Cavani would certainly thrive in the wide open spaces of Premier League defences where the 25-year-old’s – yes, he is still that young – pace, positional scene and deadly finishing would wreak havoc.
Even in a Napoli side that has failed to hit the heights of recent reasons, ‘El Matador’ has demonstrated why many consider him the most deadly out-and-out striker in Europe.
A stunning hat-trick at the turn of the year in front of his adoring San Paolo public sent AS Roma crashing to a 4-1 defeat, and in doing so fired the Partenopei to within striking distance of leaders Juventus: the lifting of their two-point penalty in relation to a match-fixing investigation has now taken them to three points off top spot.
Playing as a lone striker, Cavani’s overall display of blurring runs and link-play with his midfielders not to mention some timely near post headers when defending at corners provided amble evidence of why he would be worth the king’s ransom of a transfer fee and why Napoli will do everything to tie their savour to the south of Italy.
Each of the three goals reflected his predatory instincts – the first was a stabbed finish on the end of a neat through-ball from Goran Pandev; the second was a mishit effort through a forest of defenders; and the third a downward header at the near post following a corner.
He could have had a fourth and perhaps even a fifth, but was adjudged offside as he ghosted in on the blindside of the defence, and then goalkeeper Mauro Goicoechia just managed to divert the ball off the long-haired terror’s foot as he raced through into the penalty area.
Those three devastating finishes took Cavani’s goal-tally to 99 in Serie A and with it back to the top of the goalscoring charts on 16 goals – two ahead of Milan’s exciting youngster Stephan El Shaarawy and the veteran of many a capocannoniere campaign, Antonio Di Natale.
Cavani was no slouch last year either, netting 43 goals - 27 of which came in the league – and it is intriguing to ponder how he would match up to Robin Van Perse and Luis Suarez – scouts take note: both Cavani and the former were born in the Uruguayan city of Salto - if a move to the Premier League was to materialize, and of course his most-recent goalscoring feat has once again reverberated around Europe.
De Laurentiis has claimed he has already rejected a €55 million offer from Manchester City so Arsenal would need to find another five to ten million to gain a buy-in to the table when another round of bidding commences again in the summer.
For now Cavani has unfinished business in Naples. He has his sights set on emulating Maradona, who remains the only Napoli player to finish the season as the league’s leading goalscorer.
Then, of course, there is the major matter of the two Serie A title wins Maradona inspired in 1987 and 1990, when the Argentine was at the peak of his powers.
Cavani is only beginning to run into the best form of his career and in living up to his matador nickname he has the confidence and swagger to bring any defence to their knees – although it may not be with the Gunners.