The Manchester Evening News can reveal United staff are frustrated with Cavani’s recent lay-off with a muscular injury as medical staff had cleared him to play in some games.
Cavani, 34, returned after a 17-day lay-off at Crystal Palace last week but was substituted after 74 minutes and he has missed six of the last seven United games and is not expected to return against West Ham on Sunday.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed Cavani ‘didn’t feel right’ during United’s final training session prior to Sunday’s derby at City and the Uruguayan had to cut short his session. Luke Shaw overcame a dead leg to play the full duration of United’s victory at The Etihad Stadium.
United have the option of an additional year on Cavani’s contract but both parties have to agree to the extension. Solskjaer has previously sounded optimistic about the possibility of Cavani staying beyond the summer and staff at United’s Carrington training complex have been in awe of Cavani’s presence.
Yet United had doubts over exercising the one-year option in Cavani’s deal before his father revealed the striker is ‘unhappy’ at United.
Luis Cavani claimed his son ‘does not feel comfortable in England and wants to be close to the family again’, specifically citing the issue of Cavani’s three-match suspension from the Football Association over a social media post in November.
The FA found Cavani guilty of an ‘aggravated breach’ after he shared a post from a friend on an Instagram Story, adding ‘Gracías negrito’. The literal translation of ‘gracías negrito’ is ‘thanks black’ but Cavani was replying to a friend who wrote, ‘Asi te quiero, Matador’, which translates as, ‘I love you like this, Matador.’ Cavani is nicknamed ‘El Matador’.
Cavani attempted to defuse the situation following his father’s comments on Wednesday morning by writing on his social media accounts he is ‘Proud to wear this shirt’.
Cavani has struggled to have a consistent run at United and missed a return to former club Paris Saint-Germain in October even though he trained with United the previous day. He sat out three games in December with a knock and Cavani has not started more than three games in succession. He has lined up 13 times for United since his deadline day arrival on October 5.
United admitted Cavani was a short-term addition and remain in the market for a long-term number nine to replace Romelu Lukaku, who was sold to Inter Milan for €74million in the summer of 2019. Anthony Martial enjoyed a career-best 2019-20, tallying 23 goals, but has been subdued this term and only scored seven times – the same amount as Cavani.
Solskjaer is a long-time admirer of Tottenham figurehead Harry Kane and is still in contact with Erling Haaland, who rejected United in favour of joining Borussia Dortmund last season.
Kane, 27, is contracted to Spurs until 2024 and the €75million release clause in Haaland’s contract is not active until the summer of 2022. Senior figures at Tottenham have repeatedly derided United’s chances of signing Kane and Haaland, 20, is one of the most coveted forwards in Europe.
United initially prioritised a central defensive signing in the summer transfer window and could struggle to invest in two major additions, with a centre forward an increasingly pressing issue.
The club’s revenue was down 7% in the six months to December 31 2020 compared to the previous year because of the coronavirus pandemic and United’s wage bill has risen by 9%. Cavani earns around £200,000-per-week.