Edinson Cavani is in at Manchester United and likely to make his debut next week against former club Paris Saint-Germain.
The Uruguayan powerhouse can even at 33 become one of the best strikers to wear the United shirt in recent years.
The prolific forward could be a big asset, at a time when United’s young group of forwards need a lift.
But if there is one main criticism of the Cavani deal, it is that the move is a short-term solution.
A move for a younger player like Victor Osimhen or Moussa Dembele would have set United up for the next 10 years, rather than two.
So what exactly is United’s long-term plan up front?
Well, there is a hope that Mason Greenwood will be converted into a full-time centre-forward. That is probably United’s main hope, and he could have a chance to show what he can do in the position this weekend.
United have other plans too, after taking three gambles this summer on young strikers.
Additions already made
While Cavani is the short-term fix up front, United’s under-18 signings are the long term play.
United signed Joe Hugill from Sunderland, Charlie McNeill from Manchester City, and Alejandro Garnacho from Atletico Madrid.
Hugill, 16, has four goals in three starts this season already at youth level, including two for the under-23s.
He looks like he has already established himself for the striker-needy under-23s.
Garnacho has just played 15 minutes from the bench so far after his move went through in mid-September.
McNeill’s switch only went through late, but he did score in a under-18s friendly match last week.
Dillon Hoogewerf and Mateo Mejia both signed in 2019 from Ajax and Real Zaragoza, and will both hope to stake their claims too.
Cavani is at United on a contract for two years (which could be cut after one), giving these young players time to try and make progress without undue pressure.
By the summer of 2022 when Cavani’s deal expires, United will hope at least one of these young forwards are ready to step up and follow Mason Greenwood’s path into the first team.
For the next couple of years United can enjoy Cavani, and watch the talented forwards develop in the under-23s.
By time the South American’s stint in Manchester is over, one of the rising stars may be ready to succeed him.
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