Friday 15 December 2017

Benitez claims Chelsea will need "irresistible offer" to land Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani of Napoli
Edinson Cavani of Napoli

Napoli head coach Rafael Benitez is eager to keep in-demand striker Edinson Cavani but recognises the pressure to sell should an "irresistible offer" arrive.

The former Inter Milan and Chelsea boss has returned to Serie A to help the Azzurri challenge for the title after predecessor Walter Mazzarri booked a second-placed finish behind Juventus last season.

Cavani, 26, scored 29 league goals for Napoli during that campaign and would be key to any renewed assault on the Scudetto, but Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid have been linked with a summer move for the Uruguayan, who has a 63million euros (£54million) release clause in his contract.

Benitez told the Corriere dello Sport: "We want Cavani to stay at Napoli.

"We would be really happy if that's how it works out. If he leaves then it would only be because someone has matched the release clause or comes up with an irresistible offer.

"Cavani knows how much he is loved and how valuable he is to the city and to the team."

The Spaniard also thanked Fernando Torres - his talismanic striker at both Chelsea and Liverpool - for his contribution to the Blues' cause during his six-month tenure at Stamford Bridge.

Torres finished the season with 22 goals to help Chelsea finish third in the Barclays Premier League, guaranteeing Champions League football for Benitez's successor Jose Mourinho on his return to London.

"Torres is in great physical condition. He's a different player," Benitez added. "When I came to Chelsea we were in a rut and he pulled us out of that situation.

"Mourinho's arrival? In football there are a lot of things that you are not allowed to say, but Mourinho's arrival was as clear to me as it was to you reporters and to the players alike."

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