Will he or won’t he? The future of Edinson Cavani has been a hot topic ever since his father claimed that he wants to leave Manchester United after one season.
The 34-year-old arrived at Old Trafford from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last summer.
Initially putting pen to paper on a 12-month contract, there is an option to extend that agreement, but talks have stalled amid reports that he wants to move closer to his family in South America.
On the field, the Uruguayan striker has underlined the goalscoring instincts that made him such a success in France, and with Serie A side Napoli before that.
Indeed, the veteran has netted seven Premier League goals in 20 appearances, despite starting only 11 games.
According to The Athletic, United are resigned to losing Cavani this summer – though the player has reportedly told Ed Woodward that any final decision to that effect wouldn’t specifically be about money.
Here, we take a closer look at what the Boca Juniors target has said about his time at Old Trafford.
‘We are Manchester United’
According to the latest update on Cavani’s future, any would-be decision is set to be shaped by personal matters, rather than finances.
Whatever your take on his situation is, there can be no denying he understands the United DNA – as underlined by his celebrations against Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking to United Review in January, he said: “I believe that one of the most important things that we need to be aware of, whenever we go into any game, is that we are Manchester United.
“Every other team that plays against Manchester United try to do their absolute best to try and beat them.
“It was also a similar situation for me when I was at PSG. Teams try to do the impossible to get victory against one of the most legendary and best teams in the world.
“Ensuring we are focused and concentrated on this should give us the energy to want to fight for this badge.”
Boca in contact
Signing towards the end of the summer transfer window, Cavani was contacted over his availability by Argentine football icon Juan Roman Riquelme, who is now a vice president at Boca.
In an interview translated from Spanish in October 2020, shortly after his move, the striker told ESPN Argentina: “I want to do my best here. I feel good. The day I return to South America is not going to be when I have nothing left to give. I am realistic.
“I want to play until I feel good. I will play these two years and see if I continue or go back to South America.”
Cavani added: “Roman wrote to me with great respect. He wanted to know how I was in this situation, with a very particular salary and we had a very respectful talk.
“Boca is a giant of the world, any footballer would like to play there. There have been several Uruguayans that have played there. We will see what happens in the future. It would be very nice to be able to play at Boca one day.”
‘Proud to wear this shirt’
Speculation over the future of Cavani really started to intensify last month when his father Luis issued a damning claim about his time in the Premier League.
Suggesting that his son ‘doesn’t feel comfortable’ at Old Trafford, Cavani senior fuelled rumours of a move to Boca by adding that ‘Edinson is going to end up playing in South America’.
Cue the storm.
A number of club figures, pundits and supporters have since shared their views on that outburst, while Cavani did his best to extinguish the flames with a prompt social media post.
Indeed, while uploading an image to Instagram wearing his United kit, the player captioned his post: “Orgulloso de vestir esta camiseta”, which translates as ‘proud to wear this shirt’.
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A lasting impact
Part of the appeal when United signed Cavani would, at first, have been the knock-on effect for current hot-shots such as Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
However, the Uruguayan does not exactly have a penchant for passing on advice to his teammates – at least not in an outward sense.
Speaking to the club’s website in March, he said: “Honestly speaking, I don’t really like to just give out advice.
“I’m just here to do my absolute best and to support this team and to leave everything I have out on the field. If a young player comes up and asks me something or they see me do things during a training session that they would like to incorporate into their game, then that’s great.
“If they want to take something I say or do on board and take it as an example to use in their future development, then I’d be very happy, because it’s important to leave something positive behind.”