Owen Hargreaves disagreed with Paul Scholes that Manchester United should spend £100million on a new striker this summer, arguing they should retain Edinson Cavani and spend the money elsewhere.
MEN Sport understands that Erling Haaland is the club’s top transfer priority, with both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and John Murtough agreeing the 20-year-old should be their long-term replacement for Romelu Lukaku.
Equally, a centre-back and right-back are on Manchester United’s shopping list, whilst the outcome of Paul Pogba ‘s contract situation could influence their plans.
Cavani signed a one-year deal with Manchester United in October and there must be a mutual agreement for his Old Trafford stay to be extended by a further year.
Cavani’s father has already outlined the centre forward’s intention to leave United at the end of the season whilst the MEN has revealed the 34-year-old’s insistence on extended recovery time has frustrated some members of the backroom staff.
Scholes believes that recruiting a striker of Haaland’s pedigree is key for United to bridge the gap to Manchester City, whilst Hargreaves argued that keeping Edinson Cavani and investing the money in different areas of the pitch would be a better move.
“The Champions League success is something they’re looking for, but it’s more the Premier League success what they’re looking for right now,” Scholes told BT Sport.
“They haven’t really challenged for it for a few years now, okay, they’re second this year but they still look a little way off Manchester City. What do they have to do for next season? I think a centre-forward is a priority. I think they’ve got very good forwards, but is one of them a centre-forward, if you take Cavani out of it?
“Is one of them a real centre-forward? Is Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial? They’re better, for me, in wide areas. I think United have had 50 games this year, but Cavani has only started only 15 games, that’s not a lot.
“He’s a brilliant centre-forward, his goal-scoring record is amazing. Can they keep him for another year, maybe delay it for another year? But, eventually, they’re going to have to sign a top-class centre-forward.
“There’s a couple out there that are maybe available, I don’t know, they’re going to cost a lot of money, we know that.”
Hargreaves argued: “You’ve got to keep him, he’s fabulous. I think, first of all, he’s a great goal scorer and his minutes per goal show that. He’s the best player at United for that.
“Scholesy makes a good point, he probably hasn’t had the games he would have liked for different reasons but in the box, he’s one of the best, he’s proven that. Just as a mentor for Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Martial – he’s perfect. I would 100% keep him and invest the money in other positions.
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“I think everyone would love to have Harry Kane and Haaland, but with Cavani there, you don’t have to go and spend £100million on a player because if you spend it there, then there are other positions needed.
“They need a right-winger, they need a central midfielder, they need a centre-back. With Cavani there, he’s almost an insurance policy and you can go and spend it on three other players in important positions.
“I think if Cavani played the whole of next season, then he could easily get you 25 goals, with the other boys.”