Rumours linking Edinson Cavani with a Manchester United just won’t go away. South American outlet TyC Sports report the striker is a top target for Barcelona to replace Sergio Aguero.
The prospect of Cavani leaving mid-season would be pretty frustrating. United signed him for an extra year, and he has contributed very little in the first half of the season due to injuries. There is a sense he owes United a big second half of the campaign.
Here is a look at three reasons United have to keep Cavani until his contract expires at the end of June 2022.
Squad depth vital in season’s second half
Cavani’s misgivings about his possible role at United may be understandable after Cristiano Ronaldo’s shock return, which also saw him give up his squad number.
In the second half of the season, a fit Cavani could be vital. United have the knockout stages of the Champions League, the FA Cup, and 22 more Premier League matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo will need help. His March schedule is also complicated by the World Cup play-offs, with Portugal needing to win two games to reach Qatar, which come at a critical point in United’s season.
The recent Covid outbreak has further underlined United’s need for depth. Letting Cavani leave in January could be a big mistake.
Ronaldo partnership could flourish under Rangnick
Ralf Rangnick has made clear he wants to play two forwards, as part of a 4-2-2-2 system. This suits Cavani well, and the only time he has been able to partner Ronaldo so far, came in the 3-0 win at Tottenham in which both scored.
Cavani may no longer have to play second fiddle to Ronaldo, and the pair could start regularly together. He may not need to leave in pursuit of regular playing time.
The Uruguayan’s relentless running suits Rangnick’s pressing game perfectly, and it also benefits Ronaldo.
While just a short-term solution, this is a partnership which can really flourish in 2022 if Cavani stays fit and stays in Manchester.
Financially there is little benefit to selling
Given the high upside of Cavani staying, there is little to no benefit of him being sold. With just a few months left on his contract, and his age, United would struggle to get a fee of above £10 million for him.
United would gain £9.1 million in prize money just from reaching the Champions League quarter-finals. Keeping Cavani gives United a better chance of doing that, and offsetting any fee the club may gain for him.
While there could be a saving on his wages too, there are other players who could be sold instead, who are potentially less important.
Even if Cavani would like to leave, he is not the type of player to sulk. He is a top professional who United have treated well, and if he stays, he will honour his contract the right way and push hard to try and end his spell at Old Trafford on a high note, potentially with some silverware.
Martial may be going instead
United have plenty of forward options, and this has certainly made life complicated in the first half of the season. But that does not mean United should let two attacking players depart.
At present, it seems far more likely Anthony Martial will be leaving United, with his agent declaring his desire to quit the club via Sky Sports.
With both players leaving, United will be down to just Ronaldo, Rashford and Greenwood, plus Elanga, which leaves little cover in case of injury, suspension or illness.
Cavani should stay and Martial should go. While Martial looks spent, Cavani could still have plenty more to contribute between now and May.
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