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Neymar sinks long three-pointer ... or does he?

The Toe Poke

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Football Whispers

Edinson Cavani's new contract means PSG can focus on strength in depth

It is official, Edinson Cavani will be staying with Paris Saint-Germain until at least June of 2020. Now the French champions can start planning for next season with one of the world's most in-form strikers a firm part of their future.

The Uruguay international is now almost certain to break Zlatan Ibrahimovic's all-time record of 156 competitive goals in the capital club's colours and he is closing on the talismanic Swede's 50-strike 2015-16 season tally -- which looked unbreakable when set last campaign.

"It is excellent news for the club," beamed PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi in an interview with the club's official website. "I have always believed in Edinson's qualities. For the club and our fans, he is the best striker in the world. I am really happy with this contract extension.

"Edi is the best striker in the world, but he is also an irreproachable person. He always gives everything on the pitch. He plays with his heart from the first to the last minute. He is one of the great leaders of our team, on the pitch but also in the dressing room."

Apart from his ability to score goals, Al-Khelaifi accurately summed up what Cavani also adds to the club: a wholehearted commitment that has endeared him to supporters and earned him respect from his peers and -- many now former -- critics.

With El Matador's future now taken care of, PSG must switch their attention towards strengthening the depth of their attack.

Assuming current coach Unai Emery remain in charge for next season, which is entirely reasonable, and continues to utilise the possession-based 4-3-3 formation first introduced by predecessor Laurent Blanc, the attacking triumvirate of Cavani, Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler ranks among Europe's best.

Where the six-time Ligue 1 winners need to focus now is on making sure there are three equally talented -- not to mention effective -- players to back them up. This is not the case right now.

It is unfair to judge January signing Goncalo Guedes yet when he has had so few chances to prove himself, but Lucas Moura has had more than enough and is still infuriatingly inconsistent, while here is no obvious alternative to Cavani in the middle.

Hatem Ben Arfa is regularly deployed there when the South American is unavailable, but it is by no means the Frenchman's best or most natural role.

Cavani has been in great form this season.

Names like Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, FC Porto's Andre Silva and River Plate's Lucas Alario have all been mentioned as potential targets but only Silva and Alario would really tick the boxes PSG are looking at.

Alexis makes a lot of sense in terms of his quality and versatility but the Chile international would command an immediate starting role, shunting one of Cavani, Di Maria or Draxler towards the bench.

Cavani is enjoying the most prolific season of his career with 44 goals from 44 matches across all competitions, but the confidence he has rediscovered in front of goal has come from finally being considered PSG's main man.

Bringing in a player with a reputation like Alexis' risks sowing that seed of doubt in his mind again and it would be a shame to watch the 30-year-old fall apart again like he did when Ibrahimovic ruled supreme at Parc des Princes.

PSG may well be lacking in star power and experience but that is not in attack with Cavani, Di Maria and Draxler now finally on song at the same time.

Cavani has had to wait a long time to become top dog in Paris and he has not wasted his opportunity since Emery handed it to him. Now that he has earned his new deal, he needs a bit of competition to keep him on his toes, but not so much that he is overawed.

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.


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