Paul Merson believes Manchester United cannot challenge for the Premier League title with Edinson Cavani as their main striker and has urged the club to pursue alternatives.
Cavani joined United after his Paris Saint-Germain contract expired last summer and he has since had a positive impact at Old Trafford.
The Uruguayan striker has seven goals in 25 appearances under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, almost half of which have come from the substitutes bench.
United have benefitted from Cavani’s experience; the seasoned goalscorer is a player younger forwards like Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood can improve from.
But there are no doubts over Cavani’s long-term future at the club just five months since arriving in Manchester.
The 34-year-old’s contract expires this summer and there is little indication that he is willing to sign an extension.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson appreciates Cavani’s ability but believes United need to target a younger forward who can deliver on a more consistent basis.
“I’m a big fan of his I think he’s a special player but Man Utd need to win the Premier League and you’re not going to win it with Cavani up front,” Merson told Sky Sports, as quoted by the Metro.
“They need to bring in a top drawer centre forward. There’s no chance he’s going to play 38 games in the Premier League and score 25 goals.
“He was a top player but he’s not on a youth training scheme is he? He’s going to make players better but if you’re bringing in a Haaland or a Harry Kane he’s not playing and you’ve got £100k-a-week tied up.
“I don’t think they’ve got enough money to go out and buy a world class centre forward and keep Cavani.”
United would require an additional centre forward this summer should Cavani leave and there are few more desirable than the two name-dropped by Merson in Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Tottenham’s Kane.
Cavani’s injury problems have left Solskjaer short in forward options this season and he is again set to be ruled out for Sunday’s fixture against West Ham at Old Trafford.
As per the MEN, Cavani is among seven absentees for United’s clash against David Moyes’ Hammers as the Reds aim to consolidate their place in the Champions League positions.