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This season, Paris
Saint-Germain have been toying with the quatres fantastiques. But despite being the club's record goalscorer, Edinson Cavani is not one of them.
At the time of writing, Cavani has scored 198 times for
Les Parisiens. But he will be pushed out the door, either this month or in the summer, to make way for something younger and shinier.
The 32-year-old is viewed as yesterday's man. Despite his record for the capital side, he does not belong in that exclusive club which is comprised of Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, Mauro Icardi and Ángel Dí María.
His time at the Parc des Princes clearly up, Cavani will depart at the end of the season when his contract expires. He could even move on before then.
David Beckham's Major League Soccer franchise, Inter Miami, has been touted as a potential landing spot which would take the Uruguayan closer to home. A romantic return to
Napoli and the city of Naples where he made his name in Europe has also been mooted, as has a switch to Antonio Conte's hard-running Internazionale side, for which he'd surely be a perfect fit.
The most serious links, however, are with
Manchester United, Chelsea and Atlético Madrid – possibly as soon as this month.
Having been restricted to just four Ligue 1 starts this season, Cavani has taken matters into his own hands.
“Edinson Cavani has asked to leave,” Sporting director Leonardo confirmed.
“We are studying the situation. We had an offer from Atlético Madrid, we did not accept it. I don't know how this is going to turn out.”
Coach Thomas Tuchel admitted he expected the Salto native to depart Paris before the end of the month, saying: “I am not sure that Edinson Cavani will be here in February.”
On the face of it, Cavani seems tailor-made for Diego Simeone's physical, intense and direct style of play. A man with the nickname ‘
El Matador' is made for the Atlético coach who has worked with a number of South American forwards to great success during his time in charge of Los Rojiblancos.
Despite having a lot of miles on the clock and turning 33 on Valentine's Day, Cavani has the tenacity, aggression, discipline and stamina to thrive in Simeone's side.
Moreover, with Costa's second stint at the club failing to hit the heights of his first and summer signing João Félix struggling to live up to his billing, the goalscoring burden has fallen to the notably inconsistent
Perhaps, though, Manchester United's need is greater. Until a few days ago, the idea of signing a soon-to-be-33-year-old striker would have been viewed as a potential roadblock for Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
But Rashford is now out for ‘a while' after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær gambled on his fitness by needlessly playing him in an FA Cup third-round replay against
, resulting in a stress fracture in his back.
Solskjær, though, claims the need to sign another forward isn't desperate, though he wouldn't turn down the chance to add one on a short-term basis. Cavani could be the perfect fit.
“Desperately? Not desperately,” Solskjær
. “Of course we’re looking at numbers as well, because we've had many injuries.
“So if the right one is there and it will fit for us, we can buy. If there’s loans available it might be possible. But I've got players here as well that are chomping at the bit.”
United's position is delicate. Some experience wouldn't go amiss and Cavani is a serial winner with 18 honours from his time in France alone. But his arrival would put the breaks on the progress of Martial, who has finally returned to the No.9 spot in the team this season, and Greenwood, who has notched nine times in 12 starts in all competitions.
Too often in recent times, United have been seduced by the big-name player to the detriment of the club.
Alexis Sánchez, anyone? This isn't one of those occasions – there's a genuine need for a short-term fix – but Cavani will want more than a deal until the end of the season and that could present a stumbling block.
It's a similarly delicate position at Chelsea where Tammy Abraham has shone in his first season as the Blues' main man. With
Olivier Giroud expected to move to Internazionale and Michy Batshuayi unable to convince Frank Lampard of his value, another striker is required.
Cavani would be ideal. He is far more mobile than Giroud, can hold the ball up better than Batshuayi and has the know-how Abraham lacks. But given he's leaving Paris because of a lack of action, would playing second-fiddle to Abraham be any more appealing?
Lampard is certainly intrigued,
saying: “He's a great player; I played against him and always loved his mentality and attitude, and his scoring record speaks for itself.
“I'm not absolutely aware of what the situation is, so we'll see.
“The idea of bringing in experience is something I'm certainly not absolutely looking away from, because sometimes the young players need a little bit of help, and if that's the case then that may help us.”
In the 2010s, only Cristiano Ronaldo and
Lionel Messi scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues than him . As recently as last season, Cavani converted 0.91 Big Chances per 90, underlining his predatory instinct in front of goal.
He might be almost 33, but
El Matador still has quality in abundance. In a role-reversal, it's time a top club grabbed the bull by the horns and secured Cavani's signature.