Real Madrid may yet steal the limelight of this summer transfer window if they are successful in their pursuit of Gareth Bale, but remarkably the two biggest purchases so far in terms of price have both been made by French clubs. Monaco and PSG, both bankrolled by new wealthy owners, have splashed out on Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani respectively.
PSG’s capture of Cavani for a French record €64 million only just eclipsed the amount forked by their newly promoted rivals for Falcao earlier in the summer. The transfers signal a further change in the European football landscape with Ligue 1 clubs now demonstrating spending power comparable to that of the giants from Spain and England. The similarities between the two marquee signings are uncanny but which club has got more bang for their buck?
Monaco spent slightly less but given the huge sums involved on both parts, the cost of the two players seems hardly relevant when trying to compare them. Cavani at 26 is the younger man by a year but both players are coming into their prime as they look to start scoring on Ligue 1 for the first time. Scoring incidentally, is something that both players do for fun.
Falcao’s exploits are probably better known to the British football public. He first came to prominence due to his frankly greedy goal-grabbing as Porto pillaged the Europa League in 2011. Since then he has gone on to terrorise defences in La Liga for Atletico Madrid. The Colombian bagged 52 league goals in his two seasons in the Spanish capital.
Cavani by comparison, since leaving his home country, has spent his whole career in Italy. The notoriously miserly Serie A defences however, were no match for his eye for the onion basket. The Uruguayan averaged a goal roughly every three games during his spell at Palermo, which isn’t bad, but a 2010 move to Napoli saw him become simply unstoppable. When he left for France his total for the Naples outfit stood at 104 goals in 138 appearances.
Both players have phenomenally good scoring records and have shown incredible consistency over the last four years or so. In the closest of close calls, it may well be though, that it is Monaco who have bought the slightly higher calibre marksman. Looking past the numbers it’s worth considering where the players have scored their goals. Falcao has done more damage in Europe than his rival and this indicates his ability to be devastating at the highest level. Like Cavani he has 17 international goals but these have been achieved with fewer caps. Cavani is a superb forward but you just get the impression that Falcao’s credentials have been more thoroughly tested. Over the last few years few would argue against the superiority of the Spanish top flight over its Italian equivalent.
Despite this feeling of Falcao being the slightly more polished article, Cavani also has all the attributes to take Ligue 1 by storm. Regardless of which player they need to face first, there are likely to be few centre backs in France’s top flight who are not concerned about the prospect of these two. Neither player should have much problem settling in. Cavani will be looking forward to a reunion with former Napoli club mate Ezequiel Lavezzi who made the move to PSG last summer. The two previously had a good understanding but Lavezzi will also provide competition for the new man. Cavani will need to hit the ground running as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also on the books. Falcao meanwhile will slot in alongside his old Porto buddies Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez at Monaco and the attack will be built around him.