Is Cavani Really Worth Big Bucks?

His price tag is twice as high as that of players like Wayne Rooney, Mario Gomez and Robert Lewandowski but is he really worth it? His conversion rate is pretty average...

Last Updated: 02/07/13 at 16:33 Post Comment

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Edinson Cavani's brace against Italy in the third'place play-off of the Confederations Cup served as a reminder of what the Uruguayan can do, having also netted in the semi-final showdown with Brazil.

Since then it has been reported that Chelsea have had a bid in the region of £43m rejected for the Napoli front man, so why are the Italian club standing firm in the face of such hefty offers? WhoScored.com investigates...

The simple fact is that few players offer the goal threat of this 26-year old. Only Lionel Messi (46), Ronaldo (34) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (30) netted more goals in Europe's top five leagues than Cavani's 29 last season. Indeed, in 104 league matches since joining the Partenopei in 2010, the South American has netted an exceptional 78 goals.

He can score from all manner of means too, and though 17 of his Serie A strikes came with his favoured right foot, he netted six with his weaker left and six with his head. In terms of the latter, only Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kie├čling (8) found the net more times with headed efforts in Europe's top five leagues.

Another key facet to Cavani's game is his tireless running, showcased in the latter stages of the Confederations Cup. While stamina isn't a particularly highly sought-after attribute in a centre-forward, the fact that the Napoli forward has bags of it is an asset that plays in his favour. When looking at his goal times from the previous campaign it's clear that, as defenders are tiring, Cavani is at his most dangerous.

Of the Uruguayan's 29 league goals last season, shown in this Player Focus graphic at WhoScored.com, 17 were scored in the final 30 minutes of matches. That translates to a massive 58.6% of the striker's overall goal tally, while just nine of his strikes came in the first half of matches.

It's abundantly clear that Cavani would be a real asset to Chelsea, and potentially one that could see them challenge for the title once again, but with a vast array of top strikers currently on the market, does he merit such a huge transfer fee?

We have compared his aforementioned statistics to a number of marksmen mooted for summer moves to judge whether the Uruguay international represents value for money.

The names of Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain, Robert Lewandowski, Roberto Soldado, Alvaro Negredo and Mario Gomez have all been bandied about in recent weeks. With most of those commanding a fee less than half that of Cavani, how do their figures weigh up against the Uruguayan?

The fact is that none could match the Napoli star's goal tally, though Negredo (25), Lewandowski and Soldado (both 24) all came close. The latter, in fact, netted more goals with his favoured right foot than Cavani (19), while only Lewandowski (7) scored more with his weaker foot - in this case his left - than the Uruguayan. It's Cavani, however, who leads the way for headed goals, with Negredo (5) his closest rival here.

In terms of shots per game the Napoli man (4.6) is again ahead of Negredo (4.2) in second, with the remaining five some way behind. In turn, though, Cavani's chance conversion rate, despite being a highly respectable 18.6%, falls short of the leaders here. Mario Gomez (28.9%) comes out on top despite having an injury-hit campaign, with Higuain (28.6%) close behind, and both Lewandowski (24.5%) and Soldado (24%) picked up hugely impressive figures given their goal returns.

It's the Dortmund man who leads the list in terms of shot accuracy, with an exceptional (54.1%), with Cavani's figure (44.9%) again lower down this particular leaderboard.

While it's obvious that any signing of Cavani would be an outstanding one, capable of perhaps making Chelsea the favourites to regain their Premier League crown, acquiring his standard of striking figures may not be unattainable from elsewhere.

The Napoli striker is undoubtedly one of the very best in Europe, able to score with both feet and indeed his head, but it may be a case of being able to get more bang for your buck elsewhere. The fact that Roman Abramovich cares much more for bang than he does for buck, however, suggests that Cavani may well be in a different shade of blue next season.

Martin Laurence - follow him at https://twitter.com/martinlaurence7

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

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