Edinson Cavani: A different kind of striker – one Manchester United needed

The signing of Edison Cavani was confirmed on Deadline Day, he signs a one-year deal with the option for a further year. He has been given the number 7 shirt and comes in to provide genuine depth and competition in the striker position which Manchester United really need with Odion Ighalo’s loan finishing in January.

Many people would have expected Jadon Sancho to don the famous number 7 but United never made the final move to bring him in.

Any anger towards Cavani would be because he isn’t Jadon Sancho and feels like a last-minute signing, but he is still a very exciting one and fans should direct any anger towards the board, not Cavani.

A player I have long admired from afar since his Napoli days to PSG and with Uruguay, he is brilliant player and his goal record speaks for itself. At 33 his best days may be behind him but if used correctly I believe he could be a great asset for united this season.

He is not only a great goal scorer but a team player who movement and selflessness have contributed to the teams he has played in, a technically brilliant player who arrives in a position of need in my opinion.

His work rate is also a massive plus for United as he often uses his runs to create space for others, this would be great when United play low blocks and packed defences, but he also tracks back and helps defensively which at the moment is greatly needed.

Odion Ighalo leaves in January when his loan expires and hasn’t delivered as much as he would have liked, so United upgrading in this department is a smart idea. Ighalo is a big physical striker, whereas Anthony Martial is great with the ball at his feet and Cavani is a different option who uses his movement and finishing ability to deadly effect.

Martial is very hit and miss, his movement is not as good as Cavani’s who is a natural inside the box and uses his movement to create space not only for himself but others as well and this is much needed.

Martial has done well but has been very inconsistent as he is not a natural striker, so this signing gives Ole Gunner Solskjaer a very good and viable option at a time when burnout and injuries for players are a big risk.

He provides a completely different alternative to Ighalo and Martial, he adds experience but also a different type of approach in someone who can not only link up but is good in the air. He has played at the highest level and can provide both on the pitch and also massively off it.

His knowledge of the game and the position would be invaluable for the likes of Marcus Rashford and in particular Mason Greenwood. I don’t think his presence hinders Greenwood quite the opposite as learning from playing with him and also watching him in training would help him even more.

Greenwood if he carries on his development will be in a position to take over the number 9 role in two years or so, Cavani would provide a good player to contribute but also help longer term as he also takes pressure off Greenwood.

The academy graduate is an exciting talent and he needs to be protected and also nurtured, piling on pressure and expectation would cripple his development but allowing him in and out of the team for a player like Cavani allows him to focus on his own game and nothing more.

Cavani has been a free agent since his PSG contract expired in the summer, he was linked with a January transfer to Atletico Madrid, but PSG did not sanction the sale. He then left PSG as his contract expired and was linked with Benfica who upon failing to qualify for the Champions League lacked the funds to complete a deal, also was close to a deal with Juventus but they chose to go with Alvaro Morata.

Cavani can’t play right away due to COVID-19 restrictions but he will be needed in a tough few weeks for the club fixture wise and may just prove to be a great option if United need to rotate with form and tiredness an even bigger factor this year.

Signing a player of his calibre is reminiscent of Falcao and Zlatan Ibrahimović and the fans are excited but they remember those signings to be a vey mixed bag. I am hoping he is more Zlatan than Falcao but only time will tell.

Quality in depth has been a big problem for United and this signing goes a long way to helping with that, we know stories about his wages and his agents’ wages, but he is here now, and we need to get behind him (Striker on a free from PSG? It worked last time).

If he does what he has in the past and that is score and assist goals, then he will be worth every penny and I hope he hits the ground running.

Image credit: Manchester Evening News

Read more: Ally McCoist names two strikers Man Utd should have signed instead of Cavani

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