When Manchester United were able to secure the signing of Edinson Cavani last season, it was a deal that made a lot of sense.
He brought experience to a young squad, a know how in the penalty area, a history of goalscoring and was hungry to prove himself in a new league. He provided a depth to their shallow attacking options and also competition for a starting berth.
It was a short-term contract, one-year plus the option for an extra year, and at 33-years-old it made complete sense. What wasn’t envisioned was that he’d play plenty, arguably become first-choice and then want to leave on his own accord.
Rumours have been rife over the last few months that Cavani is interested in a move back to South America, with Boca Juniors front of the queue to take him away from Old Trafford.
Cavani had earned himself a role as the first-choice striker at the club following some decent performances but also in part down to the awful form of Anthony Martial.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has constantly praised the Uruguay international, insisting that he has been positive around the club with his attitude and application as well as helping to mentor some of the younger players. There was even talk as early as October about the extra-year option being activated by the club.
Now though, the talk is that Cavani wants out and United are doing their utmost to convince him to stay. That’s a bad idea.
For all the good Cavani has done this season, he’s hardly torn up any trees. He’s scored seven goals in 26 games for the club so far, with two assists to go with it – hardly spectacular. On top of that he’s missed chunks of the campaign with injuries and reports have come out that he simply refuses to play unless he feels completely 100%.
When the club were without any other striker options, he came through a training session unscathed but wouldn’t travel to Milan for the Europa League second leg as he wasn’t 100%. He seems to not be 100% committed to the cause and while that’s not necessarily an issue, the club shouldn’t be looking to convince someone to stay who isn’t absolutely essential to their plans or team.
The club are in need of a new striker going into the new season, whether Cavani stays or goes. Reports suggest they are interested in Erling Haaland and Harry Kane while the future of Martial is also up in the air. United are desperate for a new, reliable goalscorer and Cavani hasn’t exactly proved to be someone irreplaceable and with relatively big wages moving him on wouldn’t be the end of the world.
Regardless of whether or not Solskjaer can land one of his top targets this summer, keeping hold of Cavani isn’t the end of the world. He’s a good striker, but there are plenty out there currently who can offer competition in a similar way or probably even better considering they can fit the team’s style of play in a better way.
If Cavani really does want to leave, then it shouldn’t be among the priorities of the club to try and convince him to stay. We’ve seen how players that are unhappy and want to leave can affect the morale of a team and with his contract expiring, it would be a clean break too.
It would add an extra department that the club need to replace, but they’re targeting a new signing anyway so it shouldn’t add too much to their already heavy to-do list.
If he wants to go, let him. It’s no skin off Manchester United’s nose.