Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has told Paris St Germain striker Edinson Cavani he is welcome back at his former club any time before the two sides meet in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The Uruguay striker spent three years with Napoli before joining PSG in 2013 in a deal worth a reported 64million euros – making it the sixth biggest transfer in history at that point.
He has since plundered 176 goals in 255 appearances for PSG, but speculation about the 31-year-old’s future in the French capital has been near-constant since the arrival of Neymar in the summer of 2017.
Napoli chief Aurelio De Laurentiis has opened the door for Edinson Cavani (above) to return
De Laurentiis (pictured) said: ‘The day that Cavani agrees to lower his salary, he is welcome’
As Cavani prepares to face his former employers, his old paymaster said he would be happy to have him back in the squad – though admitted he might need to accept a pay cut first.
‘Cavani is always in my heart,’ De Laurentiis said on RMC Sport. ‘I brought him from Palermo to Naples. With us, he learned to be a real striker, he always reached 30 goals a season. He represented the club very well.
‘Napoli will always keep the door open. The day that Cavani agrees to lower his salary, and he wants to live with his two children, he is welcome. As soon as he wants, he can come back.’
The striker is preparing to face his former employers in the Champions League with PSG
As prolific as Cavani has been with PSG, he did not claim any of the 10 goals they have scored in their last two matches – 5-0 routs of Lyon and Amiens – and was substituted against OL.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel admitted Cavani had been a little troubled in recent weeks, but suggested a meeting with Napoli could be just what he needs.
‘After the Lyon match he was a little sad because I made the decision to replace him,’ Tuchel said. ‘I told him things would happen for him because he works hard.
‘He thinks a little bit too much about scoring. Things will happen if he works hard and plays with confidence. This is a special match for him.’
The Uruguayan scored a glut of goals in a three-year spell at Napoli before moving to France
Cavani will not be the only man seeing old friends again on Wednesday as Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti returns to the club with whom he won the Ligue 1 title in 2013.
‘Paris has an amazing team, they have absolute champions,’ Ancelotti said when asked how much of the present day PSG he recognised from his time at the Parc des Princes.
CAVANI LEAGUE STATS
2013– Paris Saint-Germain
‘Compared to when I was coaching they have many new players and we all know their value.’
This is not Ancelotti’s first return to Paris, but the last one proved a bitter experience as a 3-0 loss cost him his job as Bayern Munich boss.
‘Last year I came here with Bayern and I felt the confidence of only four or five players,’ he said. ‘This year I come to Paris with Napoli and I feel the confidence of the group and of the whole club. It changes my way of feeling for the match.’
Group C is finely balanced with Napoli on four points, one ahead of Liverpool and PSG.
The French champions started the competition with a 3-2 loss to Liverpool, but Tuchel believes his side have learned their lessons.
‘Many things have changed in our game, in our style,’ he said. ‘You can always learn from a defeat. Nobody likes to lose but for us it was an important experience. It was necessary.’
PSG boss Thomas Tuchel said Cavani struggled recently but tipped him to return to his best