The scarcity of centre forwards among the nominations for the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or is an indicator of the lack of genuine ‘galacticos’ currently plying their trade as number nines.
Ten years prior Andriy Shevchenko had won the award, while Ruud van Nistelrooy, Milan Baros, Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Morientes and Didier Drogba all featured inside the top 20 of the voting.
Former Ajax lump Angelos Charisteas actually outstripped all bar the great Sheva, in 2004, finishing 11th on the back of Greece’s European Championship victory.
By 2014, however, Diego Costa, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Karim Benzema were the only old-style centre-forwards among the top 20 in the poll.
It may be that the Ballon d’Or reckoning simply evidences the declining status of the line leading number nine.
Or it may be that there are simply a dearth of galactico-calibre practitioners operating in the game.
Either way there is one man who didn’t make the 2014 nominations that can legitimately claim to be the ‘forgotten galactico’ and both Arsenal and Manchester United harbour long-held hopes of recruiting him.
The sole reason the striker in question doesn’t instantly come to mind as one of the few world class number nines currently doing the rounds is that he is being forced to play second fiddle to another, namely the aforementioned Ibrahimovic.
Keen to leave Paris Saint-Germain after two seasons as understudy to Zlatan, Edinson Cavani is the man in question.
Despite spending a large proportion of his Parc de Princes tenure on as a wide-forward foil to the Swede, he has racked up 41 goals in 70 outings across all competitions.
For an illustration of how deadly he can be when afforded top-dog status and his sole ownership of the number nine role, his three seasons at Napoli are called upon.
Each of them saw him grab more than 30 goals across all avenues, while the 20-strike league benchmark was surpassed comfortably in each of those campaigns.
No one would argue with his club colleague Ibra’s status as a genuine galactico, yet he has surpassed the 38-notch tally Cavani mustered in his final season at San Paolo just once in his entire career.
The campaign in question? Last season, when the Uruguayan was subjugated to his goalscoring needs on the wing.
Cavani may not get his due but the Man Utd and Arsenal are chasing a genuine galactico in the Celeste star, albeit a unfairly forgotten one.
He is 5/2 to be a Red Devil by the close of the September 2015 transfer window.