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Manchester United snapped up Edinson Cavani on a free transfer on transfer deadline day to cap off a difficult transfer window for the Premier League giants. They missed out on their top target Jadon Sancho and was left to lurch around for wingers in the final hours of the transfer window.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also wanted to bring in a striker to add more depth to his forward line and Cavani was brought in for his experience and goalscoring pedigree in Europe. The 33-year-old has 341 career strikes in 556 appearances and is PSG’s all-time top scorer with 200 goals.
The Uruguayan was much loved at PSG and is one of the very few players who have their own chants amongst the fanbase.
However, his last season at PSG was a difficult one. He made just seven starts in Ligue 1 and struggled with calf and groin injuries. He was not part of PSG’s late-summer European adventures as the forward didn’t want to risk getting injured and miss out on a move to a prestigious club such as Manchester United.
Edinson Cavani has arrived in England but question marks remain over his ability to cut it in England at the twilight of his career and his injury record last season has raised concerns amongst the Old Trafford faithful.
It has all the hallmarks of a panic buy from a club who struggled to land targets all summer. But there could be more to this move than a big club signing a worn-out great.
Edinson Cavani is a no-frills superstar and an absolute workhorse
Edinson Cavani was much-loved at PSG and if the fans were allowed inside the Parc des Princes he could have received a rousing reception if he features for Manchester United against the French champions later this month in the Champions League
One would expect a club’s top scorer to be adored by the fans but his goalscoring is not the only reason why Cavani was loved by the PSG faithful. Unlike some PSG stars, the Uruguayan didn’t pick and choose games – he was all in all the time whether a mundane league clash against a mid-table team in France or a trip to one of the European heavyweights in the Champions League. Edinson Cavani gave his 100 per cent every time.
The Parisians took to his hard work, dedication, professionalism and his willingness to leave everything on the pitch when wearing a PSG shirt. He was a superstar who didn’t act like one when he was on the pitch for the French champions and was the ultimate team-man.
Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez once called Edinson Cavani the South American country’s “most team-oriented and collective player”.
In his book “The Best is Yet to Come”, former Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri dedicated a whole chapter to Cavani named, “Cavani, a bet I won”.
The Serie A giants had another striker in mind but Mazzarri insisted on getting Cavani from Palermo after getting mesmerised by the forward in a mundane Serie A game and he got his man. Mazzarri said:
“He didn’t act like a top player despite wanting to become one. “In terms of work ethic, he was the number one with Marek Hamsik. He never held back and put in extra work. He wanted to train even when everyone else had finished. He could be there another 10 minutes or an hour. In the sunshine and the rain, in the wind and the dark, it was me and him out on the pitch at Castelvolturno repeating the moves he needed to make in order to score.”
“Again, mister,” Cavani would say. “Ok, Edi,” Mazzarri replied.
Edinson Cavani will bring this work ethic to the Manchester United squad and the club are hopeful that someone like Mason Greenwood and other youngsters will learn a lot from what he does on and off the pitch.
The Uruguayan is a proven winner and the current Manchester United squad lack that kind of mentality. Manchester United believe that apart from his ability to find the back of the net regularly, his winning mentality and his experience will also add a lot to their squad in the next two years.
The haunting spectre of Radamel Falcao
Radamel Falcao was five years younger than Edinson Cavani when he joined Manchester United in 2014 and turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.
The Colombian also had goalscoring pedigree in Europe but was coming back from a serious knee injury. He had only returned to the pitch with Monaco when Manchester United signed him on a loan deal on deadline day.
The forward never actually looked fit enough to handle the physicality of the Premier League and looked ill-suited for Louis van Gaal’s team. While that Manchester United sided created very little, Falcao did look out of place at Old Trafford and scored just four league goals before leaving the club a season later.
Falcao had another one-year spell at Chelsea and did very little at Stamford Bridge before leaving England.
Radamel Falcao’s name popped up a lot when Manchester United confirmed the signature of Edinson Cavani on a free transfer. He is another South American striker with the pedigree of scoring goals in Europe but is coming out of a difficult season where he struggled with injuries.
While Falcao was coming back from an ACL injury, which is far difficult to recover from if a football is in his late 20s, Cavani had frequent troubles with his calm and groin muscles last season.
The former PSG man has also not played any football since March and is likely to take some time to get back into a rhythm during the season.
Edinson Cavani is also being unable to train with the rest of the Manchester United squad as he is going through a mandatory quarantine and will miss the game against Newcastle United next Saturday.
There are question marks over whether he will be ready for the PSG game as well as he is only like to be in training with the rest of the Manchester United squad for just a couple of days by then.
The good news for Manchester United is Edinson Cavani has been fit for months and is fresh to get the season going unlike some of the other stars in the Red Devils squad. His presence in the team or on the bench will add star power to a side that has lacked that element for a while.
Manchester United do have a break clause next summer if Edinson Cavani underperforms this season. But the club are hopeful that his impact on the squad will be more like Henrik Larsson than Falcao.