Uruguay v Italy: 3rd Place Match - FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013

Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly bid ~€59 million for Napoli’s Edinson Cavani. The kicker though is Napoli have set a €63 million release clause for the Uruguayan international. Hey there ناصر بن غانم الخليفي if you’re reading this, why not simply give Leonardo the missing €4 million and get things rolling?

There may be a host of possible answers to that tantalizing question (if you’re the type of person who finds these things tantalizing), but one answer is that PSG considers €63 million is simply too high a valuation. Shocking stuff. And probably not the right answer.

If PSG’s backers were to negotiate with Napoli over this relatively small amount, what recourse would they have to deliberately low-ball on the release clause? There may be a few things. What might help would be some sort of objective look at whether Napoli’s valuation is totally batshit insane to begin with.

Yesterday I wrote an, erm, review of the CIES Football Observatory’s Annual Review. I drew specific attention to their final section on economic value—simply put, the authors used their own algorithm based on a host of performative and historical factors to come up with a baseline transfer value.

Now, I’m on the record as a believer in the concept that “market rate” is simply a function of what someone is willing to pay for something. So whatever Cavani eventually goes for will be his “real” transfer value. However, that shouldn’t prevent analytics firms for trying to come up with a reasonable, empirically-based transfer value to keep things kind of sensible.

Okay, so the magic number: what does CIES think Cavani is worth? €58.3 to €67.8 million. So no, Napoli are not insane. And neither, crucially are PSG.

So what follows is some mega speculomasturbation, but my hunch is that PSG knows Aurelio de Laurentiis’ valuation has scared off some big name suitors, leaving only Real Madrid left to make a possible bid. They likely know they’re within Cavani’s “actual” valuation, and that Napoli might have reasonable grounds not to quibble over 4 million should Real Madrid decide spending that much money on a single player wouldn’t be worth it.

Both parties have recourse to third party evidence that they’re within their “right minds.” While I personally think spending nearly €60 million mortgaging your future away on a single player is about as stupid as you can get, the price is right.