PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain broke the transfer record in the French league on Tuesday by signing Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani to a five-year contract for a reported fee of 64 million euros ($84 million).
The previous record belonged to Monaco, which recently paid Atletico Madrid an estimated 60 million euros ($79 million) for Colombia striker Radamel Falcao. It is the fifth most expensive transfer in history, behind Cristiano Ronaldo's move from Manchester United to Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane's switch from Juventus to Real Madrid, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's move from Inter Milan to Barcelona and Kaka's transfer from AC Milan to Real Madrid.
"Cavani's arrival is the proof that we're continuing our project of turning PSG into the best club in Europe," PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. Cavani, who will wear the No. 9 shirt, was the top scorer in the Italian league last season with 29 goals. He led Napoli to the Italian Cup title in 2012 and to a runner-up finish in Serie A this year.
"I experienced three fantastic years at Napoli," Cavani said. "But I always wanted to try to go to the next level. I've been proposed a great project here at Paris Saint-Germain. "I never hesitated to come here when I saw the trust the club is giving me. This project is very ambitious, very motivating. They are among the top clubs in the world. They are among the few clubs that can win the Champions League."
By making its first signing, PSG restored a bit of order at the club following Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti's departure for Real Madrid and Brazilian sporting director Leonardo's resignation last week.
"The project is bigger than any person here," Al-Khelaifi said. "Our objective is very clear: to win the Champions League hopefully in the next four years." Cavani's arrival takes some pressure off Zlatan Ibrahimovic's shoulders. Ibrahimovic was instrumental in PSG winning its first league title since 1994 last season. The Sweden striker led the French league with 30 goals in the 2012-13 season, while forwards Jeremy Menez, Kevin Gameiro and Ezequiel Lavezzi struggled to find the net.
"I imagine it will go very well," Cavani said about teaming up with Ibrahimovic. "Zlatan is a world-class player. For another forward, it's a joy to partner him. I hope we can be a good attacking duo."
Cavani's signing also alleviates the uncertainty that surrounded PSG when Ancelotti and Leonardo decided to leave. Leonardo has been suspended until June 30, 2014 for shoving a referee after a French league match against Valenciennes in May.
"Today was the last day for Leonardo," Al-Khelaifi said. "I would like to thank Leo for the great job he did in the last two seasons. ... I wish him all the best from my heart for his future. The sanction was too heavy for him. He took his decision and I respect it."
Ancelotti joined Real Madrid last month. He has been replaced by former France coach Laurent Blanc, who led Bordeaux to the French league title in 2009 but does not have Ancelotti's experience on the European stage.