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Why Edinson Cavani Is the Wrong Player for Manchester United

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY - OCTOBER 15: Edinson Cavani (#21) of Uruguay celebrates a goal during a match between Uruguay and Argentina as part of the 18th round of the South American Qualifiers for the FIFA's World Cup Brazil 2014 at Centenario Stadium Stadium on October 15, 2013 in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Chris FlemingCorrespondent IMay 6, 2014

There’s absolutely no question that Manchester United must spend heavily this summer, but Edinson Cavani is not the answer.

In an already attack-heavy squad where midfield problems persist, Cavani’s signing would create more problems than it would solve.

The Uruguayan wouldn’t come cheaply either, with £60m estimated to be near the fee required to sign the striker from Paris Saint-Germain, per Metro.

Cavani is undoubtedly a talented player, but his signing just doesn’t make sense. Here’s an in-depth look at why it’s the wrong move for United.


Where Would Cavani Play in the Current Team?

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Robin Van Persie, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney of Manchester United stand over a free kick during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park on February 22, 2014 in London,
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Cavani is a modern-day striker, one who is capable of playing just about anywhere along the front line. But the problem is that Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa and Adnan Januzaj are all similar in that regard.

The arrival of Cavani would displace at least one of those players, which would inevitably lead to fallout.

That would be fine if the new man was, say, a Marco Reus-type player, but it’s questionable that Cavani is an upgrade from any of the aforementioned United players.

And if his signing is about adding depth in attack, then there are far cheaper options available, some of which United already have at their disposal.

The likes of Wilfried Zaha and James Wilson are two players who, if given the chance, would revel in the spotlight. Raw and unproven they may be, but under the guidance of someone like Louis van Gaal, they could really prosper.

Cavani is out of form. Playing second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG, the Uruguayan has struggled to impose himself in his first season in France.

That, of course, is perhaps the reason he’s prepared to find a new challenge, but United need proven stars, not wantaways from other top European clubs.


United Have More Pressing Concerns

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22:  (L-R) Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick of Manchester United look dejected in defeat after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on September 22, 2013 in
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Even in modern-day football, where money is seemingly limitless, £60m is a vast sum. It would be a huge expenditure on a player who wouldn’t necessarily walk straight into the first team.

United need to restructure their squad, targeting players who will be part of the starting XI come August.

And because of that, midfield and defensive problems must be rectified first. A long-standing lack of mobility in central midfield, twinned with limited creativity, went unsolved by David Moyes. This summer must be a transfer window in which United add at least two midfielders, one centre-back and a left-back.

That begs the question of whether United can afford to spend £60m on Cavani.

Even with Manchester City and Chelsea’s nonchalant spending in recent years, it would be an unprecedented move for a club to spend upward of £200m in one transfer window. It would also be a risk given the difficulties associated with incorporating half a dozen players into a new team.

Therefore, United would be wise to err on the side of caution and sign players they need, not players they can make do without. Sadly, Cavani falls into the latter category.


Cavani: Yes or No?

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Edinson Cavani of PSG reacts after missing a chance on goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain FC at Stamford Bridge on April 8, 2014 in London, England.  (P
Julian Finney/Getty Images

When Cavani lines up for Uruguay in neighbouring Brazil this summer, football fans will get a glimpse of his talentsfast, athletic and direct, he’s got the attributes to really star at the World Cup.  

With 20 goals in 32 appearances this season for PSG, Cavani has scored most frequently playing through the middle or on the right-hand side. In fact, his seven goals in nine appearances as the central striker suggest he’s best when used as an out-and-out forward.

But United already have two players who are able to play that role: Van Persie and Rooney. And they’re better than Cavani in that position.

That means he would more than likely be used as a wide forward, perhaps in a front three, where Cavani has just nine goals in 23 appearances.

And that’s why context is important. Twenty goals in 32 games is a fantastic record, but the fact that most have come at a position where United already have two world-class players means it would be a waste of money to bring him to Old Trafford.

For that reason alone, United should reconsider the signing of Cavani and look to spend their money more wisely.


All stats obtained from WhoScored.com unless otherwise stated.

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