Is it a snub to Chelsea or the Premier League as a whole that Edinson Cavani would prefer to play in Paris next season? Is there a serious argument to suggest the striker lacks ambition by joining one of the rising forces in European football, or is it simply that the Premier League can’t fathom the idea of another league or club being a more attractive destination?
We all get the thing with clubs like PSG: it’s money first and trophies second. Though Chelsea aren’t too far removed from all that. There is absolutely no disguise or excuse for the fact that PSG are in a mess this summer. They are the epitome of how not to run a football club.
Having known well before the end of last season that they would be losing Carlo Ancelotti to Real Madrid, they still had no clue as to who the successor would be. After flirting with everyone who would give them the time of day, they eventually landed of Laurent Blanc – and in no way was the former Bordeaux manager seen as a likely option at the end of May.
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If that wasn’t enough, Leonardo, the club’s sporting director, has announced his intentions to leave, though he will remain until the conclusion of this summer’s transfer window. If Barcelona are successful in their relentless pursuit of Thiago Silva, the club will lose a third asset this summer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, too, if he leaves. For all the money that the club has, how can anyone justify the shambles PSG has become?
Though like most things, money will make it all go away. Thiago Silva may be the best central defender in Europe, but there are others who can come in and take over the reins of the defence. As good as Carlo Ancelotti is, Blanc had a very high stock in European football not too long ago, and even though Roma isn’t as financially powerful as the Paris club, the fact that Blanc was in talks with the Serie A club has to count for something.
On the pitch, success often needs to be married with attractive football, especially with the resources at PSG’s disposal. The league title was won last season but it wasn’t done with the grace or fluidity most would have expected. Mark this down as an area of improvement. As for the Champions League, no one can deny the positive impact made in European competition. The Paris club were knocked out by Barcelona in the quarterfinals – no shameful act – and did far better than Manchester City over the past two seasons. It would be ok for Cavani to join Manchester City, though?
But the real issue here is Cavani’s greed, right? Because he has no chance of adding to his solitary trophy in European football, the Coppa Italia with Napoli. Should the Uruguayan forward join PSG, he’ll almost certainly add the league title, though the race between them and Monaco is surely one that can be billed as one of the most exciting, or interesting, in Europe.
The club also wanted a marquee name to add to their forward line this summer, and after Falcao and Robert Lewandowski went off the market, Cavani became one of the most obvious names to fill that role, much to Ibrahimovic’s annoyance, reportedly.
Yet it’s absolutely sickening to imagine a global sport such as football only having one league worthy of interest. The Premier League fans talk up their own product as the best, and that’s fine, but then why the clamour to compete in the Champions League with “Europe’s best?” Surely one completely cancels out the other. And who wouldn’t want variety?
There is no reason to believe Cavani will spend the rest of his career at PSG, but to label it an abyss in European football is wrong. France have trophies, its clubs compete in the Champions League, and the French national team were good enough to win the World Cup within our lifetime. That counts as them, the Italians and the Spanish – all leagues apparently not worthy of challenging the “might” of the Premier League.
Cavani has just as much a chance of furthering his name at PSG than he does at Chelsea, or even Napoli for that matter. Will English football forget his name if he opts for a move away from Paris next season, or why don’t we throw out the line that he hasn’t really played football in a year so might fail in the Premier League?
It’s the arrogance that assumes only the Premier League makes great players. How about all the legends of the game who passed on the English product in order to stay on the continent? Zidane, Pirlo, Maldini, Ronaldo, Figo, Xavi, Rivaldo, and the rest of the list which could go on for days.
PSG have the financial might to attract players like Cavani, and they’ll continue to build their empire in the game with the aid of the Uruguayan. There is no shame in that for the player.
Does Cavani lack ambition by choosing PSG over Chelsea?
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