Ralf Rangnick has revealed that he will "definitely not" let Edinson Cavani leave Manchester United in January, amid speculation linking him with a move away from the club.
Barcelona are one of the sides interested in the veteran striker, who has made just ten appearances in all competitions this season.
And speaking before his side took on Wolves on Monday, the German admitted that he was a huge admirer of the Uruguayan.
“We have had quite a few conversations over the last couple of weeks, probably the player with whom I have spoken the most," he told the press.
"I told him from the very first day he is a highly important player, he is probably the only one who can play as a striker back to goal and face to goal. And as I said, his professionalism and his work ethic is just amazing.
"I told him that I desperately want him to stay and stay until the end of the season, and he knows that. He knows how highly I rate him and how highly I respect him. That was also the reason why I played him today from the beginning, together with Cristiano [Ronaldo]."
Although Cavani is looking increasingly likely to see out his contract, which expires at the end of the season, fellow frontman Anthony Martial is known to favour a move away from United in January.
As 90min reported recently, Martial is keen to join Sevilla on loan this month but he may need to accept a pay cut after the Red Devils rejected the La Liga side's initial offer.
Rangnick added: "It depends. I think you will understand that I don’t want to talk about individual players in public. I know from some players that they would want to leave.
"We spoke about Edi, and he knows that I will definitely not let him go. For me, he is a highly important player for the rest of the season, [we’re] still playing in three competitions so we will definitely need Edi.
"I would rather have another Edi on top of that but for me it is clear Edi has to stay. With regards to the other players, yes, our squad is maybe a little bit too big with regards to numbers, but we still have COVID [to be wary of].
"We have three competitions, and we could do with a bigger squad maybe than in times without COVID."
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