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Reminder: Real Madrid likely the key players in Edinson Cavani’s move

Jun 16, 2013, 9:47 PM EDT

Italy Soccer Serie A AP

We’ve been over this ground before (and “we” could very well be wrong), but when you read all these rumors about Latin American players potentially linked to English Premier League powers, you need to stop and ask one preliminary, defining question:

Are they being pursued by Barcelona or Real Madrid?

And when I say pursued, I mean are the Spanish giants willing to pay market rate for the guy. Because sure, Spain’s big two would love to have every David Silva or Santi Cazorla that comes down the road, but if they don’t need the player, they’re unlikely to break out the checkbook (or the loan application).

All of which brings us back to Edinson Cavani. The Napoli man is being linked with Chelsea and Manchester City, and that’s all well and good, but he’s also being linked with Real Madrid. His father says so. His mother says so, and while a source like Marca is unlikely to say otherwise, the clues support the underlying logic.

Uruguayan kids don’t grow up dreaming of playing for Chelsea or Manchester City (at least, the last generation didn’t). They grow up dreaming of playing for Barcelona. And to a slightly greater extent, they grow up dreaming of playing for Real Madrid.

When assessing all these links between Cavani and possible destinations, the pertinent question isn’t whether City or Chelsea want him. It’s whether Real Madrid want him. Do they want him more than, say, Luis Suárez? Or Robert Lewandowski? (It appears ‘yes’ is the answer to both.) Do they want him enough to offer a salary and fee that will satisfy the player? If so, he’s probably going to the Bernabéu.

For Real Madrid, Cavani will represent a significant upgrade on Karim Benzema and (the likely gone) Gonzalo Higuaín. He’d be similarly valuable for Chelsea, who have Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, and Romelu Lukaku.

City? They’ll just have to make due with Sergio Agüero and Carlos Tévez. Horrible, isn’t it?

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