Sat. Oct 31st, 2020

Man Utd

News

Edinson Cavani can give Man United just what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer asked for

4 min read

The last time a crowd was allowed inside Old Trafford feels a lifetime ago given what has happened in the seven months since, but those who were there and of a red persuasion on Sunday, March 8, at least left with happy memories.

It would be fair to say the mood now inside the stadium would be a good deal more toxic if fans were allowed in, although as it’s costing United around £5million per game to play behind closed doors, it’s a trade-off they would gladly accept.

The only similarity right now with the scenes back in March would be the thumping rain that was a feature of the Manchester derby, especially the closing stages when Scott McTominay’s 40-yard finish in injury-time sealed victory and a third win over City in a season.

Old Trafford was raucous at the final whistle, with the squad indulging on a lap of honour and thousands staying behind to celebrate. Looking back now it feels as if the two groups knew a prolonged separation was imminent and that they should make the most of that moment.

It extended United’s unbeaten run 10 games (it would eventually reach 19) and the following quote from Ole Gunnar Solsjaer’s post-match press conference showed how positive the mood suddenly was around the club:

“We know we lack one, two, three players to be considered a title contender and some experience. We know that.”

That estimate of signings required was certainly on the low side, given United have made three senior signings in this window and still look well short of title challengers. The results and unconvincing performances at the start of this season have also jettisoned any idea of United being title challengers soon.

But the interesting part of that comment from Solskjaer is the last section, given the signing that has split opinion amongst United fans – “And some experience.”

Sign up to our free MUFC newsletter for the latest Edinson Cavani transfer news



Want the lowdown and insight on the Edinson Cavani transfer?

Get the latest breaking MUFC news and analysis every day direct to your inbox with our free newsletter

Sign up here – it only takes a few seconds.

United have invested plenty of faith in their long-term policy of signing young players, ideally aged 23 to 28, which led to criticism of the decision to sign a 33-year-old with a patchy recent injury-record in Edinson Cavani.

Under Solskjaer the average age of the United squad has plummeted. The new signings have, generally, fit that bill, players like Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood have been promoted from the academy and players approaching or at veteran status such as Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Alexis Sanchez and Chris Smalling have departed.

Was Solskjaer’s mention of experience an admission that change had come too quickly? United regularly had one of the youngest XIs in terms of average age last season. Of the regular starters only David de Gea (29) and Nemanja Matic (32) are over the age of 27, while Juan Mata is the only other squad player near first-team action that fits into that age range, at 32.

All three of them have won Premier League titles but this isn’t a squad packed with trophy-winning experience at the highest level. Cavani might be 33, but his CV is instantly the most impressive at Old Trafford. He has an international trophy with Uruguay, in the Copa America, and plenty of silverware with Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli.

He will provide exactly what Solskjaer wants in terms of experience and could prove an ideal mentor to Greenwood, as well Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, who are still learning and developing in their roles.

The timing of the Cavani deal and the fact he’s ended up at United after being hawked around Europe all summer contribute to the idea that this was a club panicking, the transfer equivalent of a trip to the petrol station at 6pm on Christmas Eve to buy your presents.

But the idea that the deal doesn’t fit with what Solskjaer wants at United ignore his own plea for just this kind of signing. United have bought in the experience he wanted. This wasn’t the window envisaged at Old Trafford but Cavani can still have an impact, on and off the pitch.

If you submit your email address with the survey we’ll send you our free daily Manchester United newsletter with all the latest breaking news, opinion and analysis from the club.

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.