Under normal circumstances, Edinson Cavani would not have been short of options upon leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
However, in the summer of coronavirus - where even Europe's biggest clubs are looking to do their transfer business on a shoestring - the Uruguayan's agent will never have had an easier gig. You can only imagine the strain on his inbox and voicemail as the summer approaches.
He might be 33 years old and coming off the back of a difficult 2019/20 season which saw him net his lowest goal tally since 2008, but Cavani remains a one-of-a-kind, world class striker, who is available for free*.
*well, sort of.
The news was confirmed by the club's sporting director.— 90min (@90min_Football) June 14, 2020
It's unclear as yet where he will end up. MLS is always an option for ageing pros looking for a final payday, while in Europe, Inter and Atletico Madrid were linked back in January. Chelsea appear to have ruled themselves out with a deal for Timo Werner pending, but they will not be the only Premier League team with a vested interest, with Manchester United and Arsenal both previously mooted.
A less obvious option, among an extensive chasing pack, are Liverpool, who have a tight wage structure and a recruitment policy that focussed on younger, mouldable stars rather than short-term ready-made marquee names.
And yet, putting all that aside for a second, the Anfield giants may make more sense than you would think.
A lack of reliable cover for Roberto Firmino is an issue Jurgen Klopp is keen to address, demonstrable by his interest in Werner. Yet Liverpool's reluctance to meet his release clause, even under pressure from Stamford Bridge, is indicative of a desire to address it on the cheap.
Cavani, then, is logical. He is a striker who would fill roughly the same short-term role as Werner, acting as an efficient pay-as-you-play stop-gap until the financial picture (hopefully) clears up down the line.
He wouldn't stick around for long, of course - Liverpool wouldn't necessarily want him to, given the wages he would likely command - but the attributes he would bring to the table for a season or two, while the likes of Takumi Minamino and Harvey Elliott continue to develop in the background, would surely be worth that gamble.
What's been lost in the midst of Cavani's final season in Paris, in which he has made just 22 appearances - comfortably his lowest total since his first season with Palermo - is the fearsome and imposing presence he offers in the final third.
Though his game is flavoured with a natural South American flair, he is as powerful, energetic and ruthless a striker as you will find, while he is a deceptively hard worker.
#HBD to ??Angel Di Maria (31), ??@ECavaniOfficial (32) and ??@ChrisEriksen8 (27) ?— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) February 14, 2019
All three scored wonderful goals at last year's #WorldCup ??
But which was your favourite? ? pic.twitter.com/TLbB9wPdcl
Former Argentina player Jorge Valdano once described him as 'a striker that covers the entire pitch' - clearly underlining his credentials as a potential Klopp striker.
While his influence may be waning with the years, a recently as last season, he netted 23 goals in 33 appearances, and prior to that, he had scored 25+ goals in eight consecutive seasons with Napoli and PSG.
In many ways, Cavani is the antithesis of a modern day Liverpool transfer target. He's at the tail end of his prime years, comes with an established reputation, and would command a wage that would immediately put him right up there as one of the club's highest earners.
He was reportedly on north of £300k a week at PSG - a figure which would need serious trimming to get into an acceptable range at Anfield.
Edinson Cavani drinking his dog under the table pic.twitter.com/aDi8Tx6LX2— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) June 13, 2020
In normal circumstances, all of that would rule it a no-go, regardless of the various tactical and strategic advantages he brings to the table. But with a pandemic ruling the world as well as the finances of football clubs all over it, normal circumstances are little more than a distant aspiration.
It's time to adapt the plan.
With Minamino, Elliott and perhaps even Curtis Jones to be given their chance to develop into long-term attacking options, Liverpool already have their future in place.
Cavani, available on a free, might just be the push they need to get there.
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Source : 90min