The cat is out of the bag and Manchester United have made their move for attacking depth as Edinson Cavani has agreed a two-year deal with the club.
Reports materialised on Saturday night that the PSG all-time top goalscorer will travel to England overnight and undergo medicals with the club before signing a one-year contract with the option of an added year.
The news was met with division in the Manchester United fan base as some bemoaned the profile of player and his cost, while others were happy for a quality attacking option to be added to the squad on a free transfer.
It’s an interesting conversation to have. At first, it doesn’t matter who the club bring in if his name isn’t Jadon Sancho.
The club have spent the best part of 18 months working to bring Sancho to the club and the terms have been laid out throughout the saga. Dortmund wanted €120million guaranteed. Reports said they were happy to do the deal with instalments so long as a majority of the money was paid up front. Manchester United didn’t do it. They continued to brief that Dortmund would lower their asking price as the window drew to a close, despite Dortmund telling the world that it was €120million or nothing.
Cavani isn’t and will never be as good a signing or a fit for Manchester United as Sancho would be, but Sancho isn’t coming.
What Cavani offers is a quality option for the attack. At 33 years old, he’s in the twilight for sure but his quality can’t be denied. He played 22 games last season for PSG before being frozen out post-January and then leaving the club on a free transfer before the season resumed for the Champions League. In this games, he scored 7 goals but he was largely used as a substitute behind Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi.
He’s being brought in as an alternative to Sancho, which isn’t good. However, as a free transfer on similar wages to what Sancho would’ve earned (reports say Cavani will earn around £200k p/w) then the deal isn’t as bad as many are making out.
He is capable of playing across the front line and is a natural goalscorer. He is a better option off the bench than all the current attackers and the quality level doesn’t fall in the slightest if he starts a game ahead of any of Martial, Rashford or Greenwood.
The reported agent fee of €10million is very high, but it will likely be negotiated down slightly since the player is keen to play in the Champions League and can’t be registered after Monday’s deadline. With Odion Ighalo due to leave in January and Dan James just quite clearly not up to the standard needed, Cavani helps boost the attacking quality in the side.
Yes, he’s not Sancho or even Ousmane Dembele but he is an attacking threat that boosts the quality of the squad. He’s a proven leader, has experience at the top level and it’s a short-term deal which means we can return to the market next summer.
I would much prefer to sign Cavani to someone like Ismaila Sarr who, despite a good reputation, would cost around £40 million and be on wages of around £100k p/w. What the club needs right now in that attacking position is someone who can help the starting line-up while also can rotate in and out of the side.
It’s not an ideal signing by any stretch of the imagination and the way Manchester United have gone about it is poor. It’s a clear panic signing, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad signing.