The look on Edinson Cavani’s face after he wasted an easy goal-scoring opportunity against Lille OSC on Friday night said everything that needed to be said about his season so far.
Cavani has had a brutal start to the 2019-20 season. He injured his hip against Toulouse FC on August 25 and his recovery kept him out of the team for a significant amount of time.
Since returning, he’s only started one match and that was in the 2-1 win over Stade Brestois. He put in a disappointing performance and manager Thomas Tuchel had to call on Mauro Icardi to come on in the 80th minute and five minutes later the Argentine scored the game-winning goal.
The situation against Brest perfectly encapsulates Cavani’s season and his current place in the team. No matter how hard he works on the training pitch and no matter how much he wants to score goals for PSG, Icardi is simply better in every way possible. That is a hard thing to say about the club’s all-time leading scorer but the evidence is overwhelming. Cavani is simply not good enough to play major minutes for PSG.
El Matador‘s confidence is at an all-time low and it’s a problem because a world-class striker needs to be the most confident player on the pitch. To make matters worse, Cavani is having to watch Icardi score goals at an alarming rate.
The 26-year-old arrived in Paris via a loan from Inter Milan (with a €65 million option to buy according to The Guardian) and when Cavani went down with the hip injury, Icardi took full advantage and now has 10 goals in 11 appearances (Cavani has two goals from nine appearances).
Icardi is confident, he’s younger, he’s faster, and he’s able to play with his back to goal and link up with the midfield as well as be a poacher in front of goal. He’s a top 10 striker in the world right now and you can bet that sporting director Leonardo is working on a contract to turn his loan into a permanent deal.
Cavani looks defeated when sitting on the bench. Tuchel has admitted that Cavani is frustrated with the situation during press conferences but it doesn’t appear as though the German has any intention of playing Cavani in a meaningful match unless he’s forced to due to injury. At this point, I’m not sure Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting isn’t a better option than Cavani. I would even go with Kylian Mbappé and Angel Di Maria on the wings with Neymar Jr. playing in the false nine role instead of playing Cavani. He offers absolutely nothing on the pitch for PSG at this moment in time.
This may sound hard and you may think I’m being disrespectful to a club legend but understand this. PSG is under immense pressure to go on a deep run in the UEFA Champions League. Anything less than a semi-finals appearance could cost Tuchel his job and convince Mbappé that he would be better off at Real Madrid. Now is not the time to care about feelings.
Cavani’s contract with PSG runs out at the end of the season and there’s been no indication from the club that they intend to resign him and the player hasn’t really proven to be worthy of one. There’s been speculation that Cavani could go to Atlético Madrid (via Diario AS), Manchester United (via 90Min), or LA Galaxy (via MLSSoccer.com) in Major League Soccer. His agent has said that Cavani has three more years left of playing at a high level but I just don’t see it.
His numerous injuries recently, documented by Transfermarkt, have robbed Cavani of his athleticism and not even playing against some of Ligue 1’s worst teams (Brest and Dijon FCO) was able to boost his confidence.
Maybe Cavani can turn it around by continuing to work in training. Maybe he needs a nice long holiday back in Uruguay to get his mind right. Whatever it is, Cavani needs to figure it out because the last thing I want to see as a PSG supporter is someone like Cavani leave the club in such a sad manner.
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