Edinson Cavani, the Uruguayan centre forward who plied his trade for Paris Saint Germain until recently, has been signed by Manchester United on the deadline day of the 2020 summer transfer window for free after he had refused to sign a new contract at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris post the conclusion of the 2019/20 season. Cavani had been a free agent and there were very few approaches made towards him by other clubs, and such a lack of competition among other things helped Ed Woodward, the controversial Chief Executive Officer of Manchester United to make him move to Old Trafford.
Cavani is a tried and tested option, with a lot of success under his belt in Europe, both in the Italian Serie A competition and the French Ligue 1 competition. There has been a rallying call by fans of Manchester United saying that the summer transfer window of 2020 has not gone to plan and despite manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taking the side to a miraculous third-place finish in the English Premier League in the 2019/20 season and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, there have been very few significant additions in the first eleven of the Red Devils.
There has also been widespread criticism of Woodward regarding the fact that Cavani was signed only to gloss over the club’s failure to capture their number one target Jadon Sancho, who was set a very high price tag by his parent club Borussia Dortmund and who refused to budge unless it was met by the Red Devils. To satisfy the fans’ craving for a big-name signing, Manchester United approached Cavani and got him without having to break into a sweat, and the Uruguyan now joins compatriot Facundo Pellistri, Brazilian Alex Telles and Dutchman Donny van de Beek as the latest additions to Solskjaer’s side this transfer window.
WHO IS EDINSON CAVANI? ANALYSING THE MAN BEHIND THE NUMBERS
There is very little that is not known about Edinson Cavani, so we will take up our story from when he first landed in Europe to sign for Palermo in the Italian Serie A competition in the year 2007. He spent the best part of four years there, one of which was spent on loan at the Sao Paulo Stadium in Naples for SSC Napoli. He signed permanently for Napoli in the year 2011 and it was here that he had one of the most fruitful periods of his career. When he was on loan, Cavani scored 33 goals in just 47 matches and once had signed permanently, he netted a whopping 71 times in just 91 appearances for the club from Naples.
Cavani won the version of the Golden Boot in the Serie A during his time with Napoli and it was performances of these sorts which forced powerhouses and heavyweights Paris Saint Germain to swoop in for him in the summer of 2013. The Uruguyan centre forward had a great time at the Parc des Princes, finding the back of the net on 203 occasions out of the 312 appearances he made for the club. He did not sign a new contract extension at the end of the 2019/20 season which meant that he was a free agent come the beginning of the 2020/21 one. Manchester United recognised this opportunity and did not waste a moment in making him a Red Devil.
However good Cavani’s numbers look like, it will be unfair on our part to comment that he is only as good as they are. The 33-year-old is a vengeful predator of the ball who is both skilled and able to prise it away from opposition defenders. Standing at 188 cm, Cavani is a physically robust centre forward who can hold his own in duels too. He should ideally fit into the system that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has developed at OId Trafford over the last couple of seasons and a half. Although the new Manchester United like to attack the last defenders by trying to twist and turn their way out of trouble, Cavani can give them an added impetus with his sureshot confidence in front of goal and ability to hold of defenders when the going gets tough.
HOW WILL EDINSON CAVANI FIT IN AT MANCHESTER UNITED? WHICH ROLE WILL HE PLAY?
Given that it took so long for Manchester United to announce the signing of Cavani (they had to wait until the final hours of the deadline day of the summer transfer window- 5 October), it is unlikely that he was on their radar right from the beginning. However, now that he is here, he will have a very significant role to play and it is expected that manager Solskjaer will make his an important voice in the dressing room at both Carrington and Old Trafford.
The Uruguayan has tons of experience which means that he will be able to guide a relatively young Manchester United side. Although the club has chosen to go back to Anthony Martial in the tried and tested number nine position, Cavani can be expected to fill in whenever the Frenchman is made to rest by Solskjaer. The 33-year-old will also be a good option for Manchester United to come off the bench if they are facing stalemates of the sort they usually do when they fail to break down opposition defences. His is going to be a creative presence and there is going to be some pressure on his wide shoulders.
Manchester United already have Marcus Rashford and Odion Ighalo in their ranks who can play as the lone centre forward if Martial gets injured or is rested, but with the former playing on the left wing of late and the latter being overlooked by Solskjaer with an alarming consistency, Cavani’s presence in the team sheet will be a sight for sore eyes. We do not quite expect manager Solskjaer to team up Cavani and Martial to play as twin strikers as that is not the system that he prefers but with no proper right winger available at the moment, we might just see the former playing up front and the latter drifting towards the right hand side of the Red Devils’ attack.
RATING MANCHESTER UNITED’S BUSINESS IN THE SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW OF 2020
A lot was expected from Manchester United in the 2020 summer transfer window but in regular fashion, their performance in it has been underwhelming, to say the least. They had made signing a right-winger their number one target, with Englishman Jadon Sancho on their radar for quite some time. However, the Sancho deal never materialised and United, shockingly, did not have any alternatives to look into.
Instead, the Red Devils received the services of Donny van de Beek (a central midfielder), Alex Telles (a left back) and Edinson Cavani (centre forward) as the only players ready to directly come into the first side and make some meaningful changes. The places where they have been considerably weak for some time- the heart of their defence and the right hand side of their attack- were not strengthened by them in this transfer window and scores of Manchester United fans will be expecting that they are at least taken care of in the 2021 January transfer window.