Falcao and Cavani edge closer to the Premier League?

Falcao Porto

Two star strikers wanted by both Manchester City and Chelsea saw their teams suffer shock results in the Europa League.

Combined, superstar strikers Falcao and Edinson Cavani are worth more than £100 million if reports are to be believed, and both have been linked with potential summer moves to the Premier League.

Perhaps, just maybe, they edged a little closer to those dream moves last night, as their sides suffered shock defeats in the Europa League which even with one leg remaining will be tough to overturn.

Both players - already tempted by big money talk - want to see signs their clubs can cut it in Europe, and not being able to make it past the last 32 stages of the continent's secondary competition is a blow to each of their ambitions.

Falcao

Colombian striker Falcao is already a two-time Europa League winner, with Porto, and with Atletico last season. Last night in their efforts to retain the trophy they were dealt a sucker punch as Russian side Rubin Kazan - without new signing Yann M'Vila - defeated them 2-0 at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

That's two away goals for the Russians, and Atletico will have an incredibly difficult task if they are to make it to the last 16, and will need to score a minimum of two in Russia at least to have a chance of taking the tie to extra time.

With a striker like Falcao in the line-up, it's always possible, the 27-year-old scored 12 goals in the Europa League last season in 15 games.

The scoreline was a classic smash and grab by Rubin Kazan; Atletico had 25 shots on goal, scoring none, six of which were from Falcao, while the Russians had just two attempts on goal, three on target, and two were goals.

Chelsea loanee Thibaut Courtois was rested and watched on from the sidelines as Atletico fell to defeat, with the second coming in the 90th minute from countryman Pablo Orbaiz, a former Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna midfielder.

We'll have to see how the game in Russia pans out, but it's hard to see the result counting in the 'stay' category when Falcao makes himself a list of pro's and con's when debating a move away from the club in the summer.

Edinson Cavani

If Atletico need a miracle from Falcao to take them through to the next round, then something superhuman is needed from Edinson Cavani to save Napoli.

The Serie A side were beaten 3-0 at home by Czech side Viktoria Plzen, who finished third in their domestic league last season. Cavani played up front but Napoli rotated their midfield, leaving Marek Hamsik and Gokhan Inler on the bench and it's safe to say the gamble backfired.

It's hard to imagine the Uruguayan will be impressed with the decision of his manager, and the club's chances of winning the trophy already look to have passed them by. 

Napoli brough Hamsik on at half-time and Inler midway through the second half, with the game at 1-0, but conceded two goals in the final 12 minutes as they pushed forwards themselves in a disastrous result for the side.

Similarly to the Atletico game, away wide Viktoria Plzen had just five efforts on goal compared to Napoli's 20, but made theirs count, with none of Cavani's four efforts on goal finding the target.

Cavani was already making noises in January about a potential move, commenting that he is open to offers if a club meet Napoli's asking price; there was talk yesterday of a big money summer swoop from Manchester City, and last night his club gave him even less reason to want to stick around.

image: © chilangoco

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