Manchester United fans should not count their chickens before they hatch in regard to the signing of Edinson Cavani.
Despite being a free agent, negotiations with the Uruguayan can be slippery even when it appears that an agreement is in place.
Fans of Portuguese side Benfica thought that they had captured the 33-year-old’s signature in August when an agreement was reached over salary. However, the deal became complicated and far more expensive than the Eagles had been led to believe.
On the 15th of August, Correio de Manha reported that ‘Cavani has chosen the Eagles and will arrive this week.’
‘The desire of the 33-year-old has been bogged down by the stubbornness of his brother and representative, Walter Guglielmone, who delayed definition of the process, but the agreement already exists.
‘Skillfully, the businessman has been stretching the decision until he ascertained that there would be no other crazy proposal that would surpass everything else.
‘But next week Cavani will be in [Lisbon]. A source linked to Benfica revealed … that if it were only for the Uruguayan player, the agreement would have been consummated sooner.
‘In [Lisbon], Cavani has a three-season contract waiting for him. The forms of payment may, however, exceed this time limit, in a complex financial transaction that aims to decongest Benfica’s finances.
‘As for the numbers involved, Cavani will have to accept Benfica’s salary cap, that is, 2.5 million euros net per year, plus a signing on fee of between eight and ten million euros, a situation that has yet to be settled.’
So far, so good, but then the waters started to get muddied.
Because Cavani is a resident of France, a high tax country, to pay him €2.5m a year net would require Benfica to pay him €5m a year gross. That over three years plus a €10 million signing-on fee, would bring the total cost to €25 million.
But still do-able for Benfica.
A couple of days later, and the figures had gone up again.
‘Benfica … had already explained that the club had gone as far as it could: they offered six million net euros a year to the 33-year-old striker, not to mention the signing-on fee.
‘Altogether, the club… would spend 36 million euros on the Uruguayan’s salary in three years.
‘Cavani is asking for eight million a year, which would raise the total to 48 million euros in the three seasons he would spend in Lisbon.
‘That is, at the moment the two parties are separated by 12 million euros.’
With an extra €3 million in agent fees, the total amount demanded by Cavani now stood at €51 million, when Benfica had thought they had a deal at around €25 million.
Cavani’s half-brother/agent also reportedly reneged on allowing the fees to be spread over six years.
That gap proved to be too great for Benfica to cross and the deal fell through.
Fast forward to yesterday and to the Manchester United deal. The news broke that Cavani had agreed personal terms but that all that stood in the way was a ‘huge agent fee’ of £10 million, which United hoped to reduce.
Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano tweeted that ‘Benfica and Atlético deals months ago collapsed because of agents fee’, but this was not the case as we have seen. In the case of Benfica, the complications arose due to differences between gross and net amounts, signing-on fees and either mis-communications – or ever-increasing demands – about the actual salary and the terms of payment.
Man United are closing on Edinson Cavani deal! Agreement reached on personal terms until 2022.
Last details to be sorted about agents fee [huge amount – €10m asked] then the deal will be done.#MUFC see Cavani as “great opportunity”.
Here we go expected soon. NO Luka Jovic 🔴 https://t.co/JCI08Gw1em
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 3, 2020
It is hoped that with just 36 hours of the transfer window remaining, there will be no time for this sort of soap opera to develop in United’s case. Cavani needs a club and there is no better option for him than Manchester United. However, with the notoriously difficult negotiator Guglielmone up against ‘Dumb and Dumber’, United’s Ed Woodward and Matt Judge, this one definitely won’t be all over until the fat lady sings.
This summer’s transfer window has been one of the strangest in living memory. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.