Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani joins Paris Saint-Germain for $82.5 million, how will he fit in?

Leave a comment

Neither of Edinson Cavani’s parents predicted this move.

But, finally, one of the longest transfer saga’s of the summer has come to a close as French champions Paris Saint-Germain signed Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani for a whopping $82.5 million.

Cavani’s new club have splashed a huge amount of cash to get their man, with his parents previously stating he was on his way to Real Madrid. However that didn’t materialize and now Paris is Cavani’s new home.

The ex-Napoli man has signed a five-year deal and the 26-year-old known as “El Matador” will look to bring European success to the Parc des Princes.

Yet, do I get the feeling that Cavani isn’t exactly what PSG need this season?

Laurent Blanc’s men could do with strengthening in other areas first, as their attack already boasts Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cavani’s ex-Napoli teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and plenty of others.

Maybe a central midfielder or another central defender would be better? That’s just me.

Or, does Cavani’s arrival spark the end of Zlatan’s Parisian adventure? The 31-year-old fell out with some people behind the scenes during last seasons title celebrations (namely outgoing Sporting Director Leonardo) and isn’t against joining Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

(MORE: Edinson Cavani has “heart set on move to England”)

Cavani and Zlatan are two of a kind. They’re huge bulking forwards, who are quick and can score goals. I don’t think there is room for both of them in PSG’s team. If there is, then my goodness, central defenders across France and Europe will be crying themselves to sleep this evening.

But that extremely physical approach may not be what Blanc is looking for. They’re pretty set at the back, with Thiago Silva marshaling the defense and Salvatore Sirigu doing a fine job in goal.

Strangely, despite all their attacking talent, PSG couldn’t score many goals last season. They averaged less than 2 goals per game, 1.81 to be exact, and that’s not good enough for a side boasting top international forwards by the barrel full. They huffed and puffed and won several games 1-0 or 2-1 last term, they got the job done and won the title. But their Qatari owners will be expecting some more swashbuckling displays in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League this season.

(MORE: As transfer window opens, Cavani mum on potential move)

At the back they had the best defense in the league by far, letting in just 23 goals. Blanc is an astute tactician and being a former French international defender he always sets his teams up to be difficult to beat.

But does the signing of Cavani mean they will play two up front and go for it, big time, next season? With Blanc’s defensive principles I doubt it, but you never know.

Cavani has scored 104 goals in 138 games over his last three seasons with Napoli. If that doesn’t help PSG score more this season, whether Ibrahimovic is around or not, I don’t know what will.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
Leave a comment

Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
Leave a comment

Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.