Chelsea Transfer Focus – Cavani saga rolls on as Napoli remain defiant

The fate of Edinson Cavani is firmly established as one of the most prolonged and tedious transfer tales of the summer window. And, as we enter July and clubs begin to kick off their pre-season training schedule, the destination of Chelsea’s apparent number one target seems to be no clearer.

According to Sky Italia reporter Tancredi Palmeri, a man well-versed in Serie A goings-on, the Blues have agreed personal terms with the Uruguayan forward ahead of a potential move to Stamford Bridge. However, a deal has reportedly not yet been done with his current employers Napoli – and that could be the sticking point.

Last season’s Serie A runners-up are digging their heels in when it comes to Cavani’s fee. The widespread belief is that he will be allowed to leave San Paolo if a bid of £53m is received – thereby matching a release clause in the ex-Palermo striker’s contract.

While Jose Mourinho allegedly sanctioned a £45m swoop for Cavani last week according to the Daily Mail, Napoli are refusing to budge over his price tag – a defiance which has already frustrated other potential suitors such as Manchester City and Real Madrid, who seem to have switched their attentions elsewhere.

But with the Confederations Cup – where Cavani has been representing Uruguay – now over, there should be more movement. While Napoli are determined to keep their man as they return to the Champions League next season, it’s likely to be a case of when, rather than if, Cavani moves on. If Chelsea have indeed – as reported – bid £45m for him, owner Roman Abramovich can surely be persuaded to delve behind the sofa and scrape together the extra £8m required to trigger a release.

However, the Blues could do well to stop and pause before homing in on their number one target. With a hefty price tag comes hefty expectations; for both, see Fernando Torres. And while the circumstances surrounding the ex-Liverpool man’s signing were wholly different to Cavani’s current state, is shelling out another Torres-sized sum a progressive move for Mourinho and Chelsea?

The Blues have an embarrassment of riches going forward, as a horde of youths scratch at the door of the first team waiting to break in. With Romelu Lukaku now back in west London, as well as other future – and indeed, current – stars such as Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle and Lucas Piazon, it’s difficult to see how they can all be squeezed into the same team in the coming years. If 26-year-old Cavani arrives, that’s another body occupying a first-team slot, without even considering Torres and Demba Ba.

Nevertheless Cavani appears likely to head to the Premier League sooner rather than later. It will be up to Mourinho to ensure that his arrival doesn’t obstruct the progression of Chelsea’s wise investments in young European talent over the past few years.

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