Manchester United are closing in on a deal for striker Edinson Cavani and see his leadership and experience as vital ingredients to add to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.
The 33-year-old is a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer and has been linked with a number of Europe’s top clubs, but United are set to bring him in to add valuable competition to the forward line at the start of a season that will stretch resources like never before.
Odion Ighalo is currently acting as back-up to Anthony Martial but he has struggled for form at the start of the season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has always stressed the need to have competition in attacking areas.
It is understood Cavani‘s track-record of winning trophies in Europe with Napoli and PSG appeals to the club, with Solskjaer building a young squad at Old Trafford under the Norwegian. The forward has won 20 honours in his time in Europe and also claimed the Copa America with Uruguay in 2011.
But United have also seen enough to realise that Cavani remains motivated to add to that impressive CV even in the final years of his career and hope he could have a similar impact to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede was signed by Jose Mourinho at the age of 34 in 2016 and scored 28 goals in 46 games in his first season at the club.
Cavani plundered 304 goals in 439 games for Napoli and PSG but as well as his record on the pitch his leadership is also admired at United, especially with Solskjaer building a young side.
It is hoped 18-year-old Mason Greenwood will benefit from working alongside a striker of Cavani’s calibre while the Uruguayan can also offer his experience and expertise to Marcus Rashford, 22, and Anthony Martial, 24.
If the deal is concluded it would mean Ighalo returning to Shanghai Shenhua when his loan expires at the end of January. The Nigerian’s initial deal was due to expire in May but was extended a result of the season being suspended, but Solskjaer was always going to want to bring in another forward before he returned to China.
While the move for Cavani is a divergence from United’s recent transfer strategy, it’s not going to signal a complete change in direction from the signing of younger players such as Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek.
Instead, it’s understood the move for Cavani was seen as an opportunistic signing, with Solskjaer keen to add more firepower and experience to a squad that was often one of the youngest in the Premier League last season.