Manchester United FC

Man Utd have to convince Edinson Cavani to stay for another year

Mitchell Wilks
Apr 12, 2021, 2:15 PM GMT+1
Cavani isn't done yet
Cavani isn't done yet | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

On the surface, relying on a 34-year-old free transfer should be a concerning situation, especially for a club doing so many good things with a youthful side.

For Manchester United, though, it remains very hard to look beyond the impact of Edinson Cavani right now.

Since signing last summer, the Uruguayan has highlighted the damning truth that United lacked an out-and-out number nine, but has also fixed that issue in the short term for the Red Devils. It's exactly his impactful debut campaign with the club that should be the reason they should be convincing him to stay for another year.

Edinson Cavani
'El Matador' has been great for Man Utd | Alex Pantling/Getty Images

There has been intense speculation that Cavani is unhappy in England and eyeing a move to Boca Juniors, but Man Utd need him to stick around.

Look, injury ending Anthony Martial's season prematurely is tough for the Frenchman, but it is the culmination of yet another subpar season for United, where he lost his place as the starting forward to said 34-year-old. Excuses have run out for him.

Cavani simply offers United much more. One of those traits being his obvious experience at the top level and subsequent wisdom that comes with it. For forwards like Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and most definitely Martial, you could never not learn from being in the presence of Cavani both on a matchday and on the training pitch.

With 349 European club goals comes a hell of a mental boost. Despite having one very harshly chalked off in the first half of Manchester United's 3-1 win over Tottenham thanks to VAR, it was the wise head of the 34-year-old that was key in ensuring his side bounced back from a 1-0 deficit at half-time. Without his steel and razor sharp focus that he and other more experienced members of the squad have, United likely wouldn't have been able to refocus and ultimately win.

Cavani's influence goes beyond a mental one, however. His fitness levels remain outstanding, which is why he has been such a hit in Manchester. Cavani has chalked up 29 appearances at the time of writing, chipping in with a competent eight goals and two assists.

No, United don't just want competence and no, we shouldn't be praising players for simply showing up, but Cavani being readily available for the Red Devils and actually scoring a handful of big goals is rather under-appreciated. Consider that Bastian Schweinsteiger came to the club aged 30 and spent more time watching his wife play tennis than playing football, Cavani's efforts are welcome considering he has very little left to prove, if anything at all.

We do have to be realistic, however. There are positives to keeping Cavani for another season, but United can only reap the rewards of that by planning ahead, which starts this summer. While he's shown no signs of slowing physically, there is always a risk when you're relying on the legs of a soon-to-be 35-year-old to regularly lead the line for a whole season.

United need to use his presence intelligently, and bring in another attacker to ease the burden and widen where the goals come from, ideally in the form of that right-sided attacker they still lack.

Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani
United's squad still needs some work | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

A world class winger would add one more piece to United's jigsaw in attack, while also helping to get the best out of a Cavani who looks like has enough left in the tank to go another year. United can effectively use that mileage as a buffer zone to strengthen other areas this summer, then use Cavani for one more season before signing his long-term replacement.

No, using a free transfer as a 'buffer' to delay a replacement isn't ideal. But Cavani being that man is by no means a bad position to be in, considering the goals he can still score and the way in which he leads by example.