Manchester United supporters can be forgiven for feeling a little disconsolate right now. The Europa League final defeat was tough to take.
If there is one positive piece of news to cling onto, it is that Edinson Cavani is set to stay for another season.
Cavani scored United’s final goal, gobbling up the one real chance he had.
The Uruguayan was a force to be reckoned with all night long, rarely giving Villarreal’s defenders a moments’ rest.
He chased back doing defensive work too, frequently being seen in his own box fighting at both ends of the pitch.
Cavani’s season ended with 17 goals. Six of those strikes came in five Europa League games, with a further three assists, at the age of 34.
We could quite easily be reflecting right now on Cavani’s last game for the club.
Fortunately he was convinced to put pen to paper on a new deal earlier this month. The uncertainty over his future is gone, even if Paul Pogba’s situation remains unclear.
A real asset
Long-term United obviously need to find the club’s next Cavani for the next five years. But in the here and now, the South American is a legitimate superstar.
Amid all the talk over United’s Europa League final failure, suggestions that the club go and blow £150 million on a new striker is futile.
Cavani did his job and United still failed to win. He wasn’t provided with enough chances, with the team’s attacking verve totally wilting for the final 50 minutes of the tie.
United need to supplement Cavani with better talent, with more creative players, with a holding midfielder who can anchor the midfield by himself, and shore up the defence with players who can repel a set piece.
Replacing Cavani can come later. For now, we need to enjoy him, and that means building a team around the striker, and savouring the fact we have him for one extra year.
If United can do that, then next year he could be bowing out on a trophy high, rather than wondering what might have been.
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