Fri. Jan 22nd, 2021

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Edinson Cavani has confirmed new Man United transfer priority

3 min read

There will be a fair few Manchester United fans who have been forced to eat their words in recent weeks.

Not because they’re locked down in Tier 3 and have run out of all their essential sustenance; but because of the recruitment of a player who was himself widely deemed non-essential in the summer transfer window.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing in football reporting, but there can be no disguising the fact United were widely mocked for their decision to bring in veteran free agent Edinson Cavani late on deadline day.

His record with Paris Saint-Germain was exceptional, that is a fact. But buying an unwanted 33-year-old when you’re trying to push the narrative of a ‘cultural reset’ rightfully set alarm bells ringing throughout the fan base.

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Manchester United returned to winning ways in the Champions League with a 4-1 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir at Old Trafford.

Bruno Fernandes’ brace set Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on course for a third successive win, with Marcus Rashford and Daniel James also on the scoresheet.

MEN Sport will bring you all the reaction and analysis from United’s win and the build up to the Southampton game this weekend. You can have it all delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our daily newsletter. Just put your email address in the sign-up box at the top of this article, or simply follow this link. It’s free and only takes a few seconds.

While nobody had any issues with Cavani as a player, it was what he represented which put many off. His signing stunk of Louis van Gaal, with many fearing his arrival would signal regression after a season of steady progress at Old Trafford. Instead his introduction has rejuvenated the forward line.

Anthony Martial’s poor start to the season has been brought into sharper focus by the energy and experience of Cavani up front, with the Uruguayan already proving himself to be a valuable asset in their attacking approach. His pressing play and intelligent runs off the ball have revolutionised the attack, with a calibre of hold-up play which was rarely seen last season. In essence Cavani is a deluxe version of Odion Ighalo: a technically better player, more reliable and sharper in front of goal.

United officials risked humiliation by likening his arrival to that of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, insisting they were delighted to have signed a high-quality and experienced player like him despite favouring youth players under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Yet, laugh all you want, it is beginning to look like they might be right – to an extent at least.

The Uruguayan’s impact has been so influential that Martial was shifted out to the left to accommodate him against Istanbul Basaksehir, something which has justified calls from Paul Scholes earlier in the year begging for a new central striking option.

Solskjaer admitted he always wants to add goals to his team and regardless of the lasting legacy of Cavani it is a subject matter which has been freshly fuelled by his arrival.

United are under no illusions Cavani is not the long-term answer to their striking issues, hence why they have the option to extend his one-year deal next summer, but the former PSG forward is already proving to be the ideal stop-gap.

Next summer United should have a clearer indication of whether or not they might be able to land a top target like Erling Haaland; if the answer is no then another year of Cavani should suffice.

Yet no matter what happens for the remainder of the season, Cavani’s immediate impact has reiterated the long-term need for a proven centre-forward.

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