You can generally tell quite a bit about of a player’s happiness at a club by the way he answers questions over his future.
It’s not an arduous task to respond with ‘I’m staying’, nor is it unheard of for a player to completely rule out the chance of a move which has been fueled by the media’s transfer rumour mill. At the end of the day you can blame the papers for sensationalising quotes, but unless a footballer physically states that he isn’t planning on moving away when he’s asked, can you really blame them?
The perfect case in point, and one that forms the backbone of this particular opinion - Edinson Cavani’s comments made to journalists following Paris Saint-Germain’s capture of their second Ligue 1 title in a row. Of course there’s been murmurs of discontent concerning the Uruguayan's position at the Parc des Princes for quite some time, and Louis van Gaal’s imminent arrival to the Manchester United hot-seat has done little to dampen the flame. In essence last night gave Cavani the perfect opportunity to once and for all put to bed the notion that he’ll be moving to Old Trafford this summer.
How did he respond? By further stoking the fire.
“Manchester United? I do not know if it's true.You should ask those who speak to those who give information. My future? We certainly speak late in the season, with the President, with the club,” Cavani told reporters - hardly concrete proof that he’s going to rebuff advances made for his signature.
In my mind what it is solid evidence of however, is his desire to keep his options very much open ahead of a summer transfer window which could very well define his career. Say what you want about the 27-year-old not moving to PSG because of the money, but the argument that he moved to Ligue 1 because of its position at the summit of the European football leagues is precarious at the very best.
It makes sense that Cavani is now coming to terms with the fact that, whilst making him extremely wealthy, his current club can’t promise too much in terms of the legacy he will leave behind when he hangs up his boots. After all, he’s already won the French title, and UEFA’s promise to now clamp down on the recognised breach of the Financial Fair Play rules practically ensures that the days of Nasser al-Khelaifi supplementing PSG’s run for Champions League glory by buying every in-form player and his dog are well and truly over.
What’s more this season has made it clear that whilst Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still fit enough to run round the pitch for 90 minutes, it will be he who dominates the lone-striker berth that Laurent Blanc favours, not our aforementioned protagonist.
Under Van Gaal Cavani would likely have the freedom to play in a more central position, and the cash injection promised by the Glazers would alleviate the concerns over United not being able to match his lucrative wages.
It would seem, at least from an objective angle, that if United are willing to pay the mooted £50million transfer fee, then the forward would be more than happy to say yes. The fact that he was unable to say no last night speaks volumes.
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