One of the shock signings of the transfer window was the late arrival of Uruguayan powerhouse striker Edinson Cavani to Manchester United.
Solksjaer’s men were linked to countless strikers this summer – from Mario Mandzukic to Victor Osimhen, the speculative media associated the reds with almost every available striker under the sun.
So just why did United take a punt on the 33-year-old veteran?
Hungry for goals
First off, let’s talk cold hard facts. Edinson Cavani is a goal-scoring machine. He is PSG’s leading goal-scorer of all time. He bagged himself a grand spanking 200 goals in 301 appearances, remarkably averaging a goal every 114 minutes.
United are blessed with many talented attacking options. Last season the likes of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial accumulated a grand total of 73 goals between them and with the average age of 21 between them, United’s attacking future is clearly in safe hands.
Which begs the question, why is a 33-year old striker needed to disrupt this young, exciting attacking trio?
The simple things
First off, the experience he will provide for the young lads will be invaluable. He will teach things to these young forwards that not many coaches in the world could.
United also find themselves in four competitions this year, which means plenty of opportunities to share minutes round. Cavani’s experience in big fixtures will be great for cup competitions, he has a winners mentality – winning six Ligue 1 titles, five Coupes de la Ligue and four Coupes Des France during his time at the French giants.
Cavani isn’t what you’d class as a modern ‘target man’, the levels to this man’s game is phenomenal.
Cavani usually plays off the last defender, as any good strikers do. Compared to Anthony Martial, United’s other attacking option, his runs are much more explosive and dynamic, whereas Martial likes to drop back in order to link up play in tight scenarios.
Here we see Cavani’s movement at it’s very best. He stays on the last man till the very last second the ball is played, once the pass is initiated, he’s off and there’s no catching him.
With United’s creative outlets such as Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, Cavani will score goals for fun in the Premier League against often static slow English centre-halfs.
Fox in the box
Cavani takes up excellent positions inside the box which makes him an absolute nightmare to defend against.
This is great in games that are at a stalemate. We saw a brief glimpse of his prowess in the box in his brief cameo against Chelsea, with this effort.
His positioning is second to none. Anticipating the low driven cross from Wan-Bissaka, he was only matched by great defending from Thiago Silva, another former PSG man.
Despite only being six foot, not the tallest striker in the world, this man can head the ball. The idea two of their summer signings linking up through the prospect of Alex Telles whipping balls in from the left will have United fans licking their lips.
He was a breath of fresh air against PSG, with more crosses into great areas than United have produced in a long time.
Here is a visual representation of how this could work for Manchester United.