Edinson Cavani could be a viable target for Manchester United, who are in need of a striker. The Hard Tackle assesses how he would be an ideal fit at Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson once famously proclaimed, “Attack wins you games, but defence wins you titles.” Well, Manchester United have struggled to win games this season and it is no wonder that a lack of goals in the side is a major reason why. With Marcus Rashford sidelined for the foreseeable future, the problem has only worsened.
In need of attacking reinforcements, Edinson Cavani could be a viable target for Manchester United to pursue for a move this month. The Hard Tackle now takes a look why, starting with how things have reached a head for Cavani at PSG.
Reaching the End of the Line at PSG
For years, Cavani has been a goalscoring force in Europe. In fact, since he arrived in the continent and made his debut with Palermo, only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have netted more goals in the top five European leagues than the Uruguayan international.
His record with PSG is quite something as well, with Cavani being the club’s all-time leading scorer with 198 goals. However, after six seasons of being one of the leading lights for the reigning Ligue 1 champions, Cavani no longer remains a regular.
Multiple factors have been at play for Cavani losing his spot as a regular. Mauro Icardi has been a revelation since joining on loan from Inter Milan, while injuries have managed to play spoilsport as well.
Things, however, have reached a head for the 32-year-old, who has submitted a transfer request to Thomas Tuchel to seal his exit from Parc des Princes this month. The likes of Atletico Madrid and Chelsea have been heavily linked with Cavani, but Manchester United should not be far behind their fellow European heavyweights. Here’s why.
Manchester United and Their Predicament
It has been quite a tumultuous season for Manchester United, who have been marred by rampant inconsistencies in the first half of the season. A lightweight midfield and poor chance creation have been huge problems for the Red Devils, but at the same time, the forwards have not done their job either.
Criminally profligate in front of goal, finishing has been a major issue for Manchester United. One look at the figures for the squad this season then reveals how grave a situation goalscoring is for the Red Devils. In fact, remove Marcus Rashford’s 19 goals and the rest of the players have just 33 goals between them.
Among the remaining players, 20 goals have been scored between Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood. That the latter is not even a regular sheds a light on the desperate need of goals for Manchester United.
With Rashford now unavailable for at least a couple of months due to a back injury, things have started looking grim for Manchester United. In the two matches that United’s talisman has missed, the Red Devils have failed to find the back of the net, even though goalscoring opportunities have not been few and far between.
For all his talents, Martial has shown an inability to shoulder the responsibility to be a leading light for Manchester United. Greenwood, on the other hand, is too inexperienced to be thrown into the deep end already. In fairness, the teenage prodigy has already done his bit and continues to deliver.
In such a scenario, Manchester United are in need of a player who has been there and done that for years; a player who can be a leader on the pitch when the situation is dire. This is where Cavani comes into the picture.
The Perfect Short-Term Fix?
Marcus Rashford’s injury-enforced absence has not just left Manchester United woefully short of goals. What it has also done is left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer down to his absolute bare bones as far as attacking options are concerned.
So, having previously insisted that Manchester United will only sign players who fit the long-term vision of the club, Solskjaer was recently forced to admit that the club could enter the market for a short-term attacking reinforcement. In particular, the option of a loan is being scoured, and Cavani should be an option for the Red Devils.
With years of experience of leading the line for a top club, Cavani is just the kind of player who can settle the nerves of a young side, especially when it comes to crunch situations. With Anthony Martial capable of playing on the left as adeptly as he does through central areas, Rashford’s void can be filled by the Frenchman.
Blessed with pace, tremendous athleticism and a deadly eye for goal, Cavani can be Manchester United’s answer to consistent goalscoring, if he can be ably supplied. With barely any more room left for them to drop further points than they have already, signing a consistent striker like Cavani can help United go a long way in the second half of the season.
In the words of former midfielder Darren Fletcher, Manchester United just cannot afford to let Cavani join Chelsea, or any other club for that matter. Having already failed to replace Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, the time is right for the Red Devils to delve into the transfer market and get their man.
A Possible Dampener?
If Manchester United do sign Cavani, the transfer will come with a caveat. The Uruguayan striker’s recent injury record suggests that he could pose some concern to the Premier League heavyweights, should they end up securing his services.
Last season, hamstring and other muscle related injuries meant that the 32-year-old started just 27 games in all competitions. And, similar sort of issues have hampered the player this term as well, as Icardi’s advent notwithstanding, Cavani has been unavailable for as many as 15 games due to a raft of fitness issues.
In fact, as you read these words, Cavani is once again on the sidelines after sustaining a groin strain last week. With the injuries starting to pile up, one might think that Cavani might add more problems than he will solve at Old Trafford.
Even if Manchester United were to look past his recent fitness record, they will face an uphill task in the race to sign Cavani, with his father revealing that he would prefer joining Atletico Madrid if PSG agree to let him leave.
Speaking to El Chiringuito, Luis Cavani said, “He wants to join another club in Europe. That would please me that he plays here (at Atletico), yes. There are lots of other clubs but when you give your word to a team, you respect it. If tomorrow, if he is available and Atletico still want him, I think he will sign.”
That Atletico Madrid, and even Chelsea for that matter, can also offer Champions League football, makes Manchester United’s job that much harder. Having said that, recent reports have suggested that the Spanish giants’ latest offer was far apart from PSG’s valuation, a fact that provides United with an opportunity, if they decide to sign him permanently instead of trying to seal a loan deal.
Signing Edinson Cavani should be a priority for Manchester United, despite the fitness issues that have constrained him lately. However, the player’s preference of his next club could play spoilsport to the Red Devils’ hopes of signing him, if indeed they make their mind up about pursuing a deal for him.
Having said that, there is no doubt as to the fact that Edinson Cavani should be on top of Manchester United’s transfer wishlist in the final week of the January transfer window. A possible marriage of necessity for all parties involved.