The striker had an instant impact at the club since his arrival two summers ago.
Edinson Cavani was a surprise buy during the 2020 summer transfer window by Manchester United. He came to the Premier League on a free transfer after his stint with Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 finished. The Uruguayan took a little time to find his stride, but once he did, there was no stopping him.
The Red Devils brought in Cavani after seeing worrying signs in Anthony Martial’s form. The club needed a reliable figure spearheading the attack, with both experience and quality. Many critics suggested that Cavani’s age might restrict his contribution. However, he has brought a breath of fresh air, won many hearts thanks to his tireless displays and has now almost become indispensable.
The 34-year-old has scored 18 goals and made six assists in 48 overall appearances for Manchester United. His initial plans were to play one season in the Premier League and then move to Boca Juniors. Surprisingly, the striker agreed to an extension after relentless persuasion from the fans and the club. Now the club must work towards making sure Cavani stays beyond the 2021/22 season due to the impact his arrival has had.
Here are the five reasons why Manchester United needs to retain Edinson Cavani.
5. Broke the No.7 jersey curse
As impractical as it may sound, the curse surrounding the No. 7 jersey at Manchester United had many victims. This particular number comes with many expectations, primarily because of the history attached to it. Some of the best players in the club’s history like Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo wore the number previously. When Ronaldo left for Real Madrid – players like Antonio Valencia, Memphis Depay, Angel Di Maria, Michael Owen and Alexis Sanchez all wore the prestigious number.
However, all of them had disappointing campaigns with the Red Devils. “I didn’t give a f*** about the Manchester United No.7, at first they talked to me a lot about it, it was just a shirt,” Di Maria said years after his departure from the club. Fans were expecting the same when Cavani wore the No.7 jersey but he flourished to the shock of many.
There was a massive sigh of relief as finally the curse was broken, with Cavani scoring 17 goals while wearing the famed jersey. Interestingly, only 15 Premier League goals were scored by the combined previous holders of the No.7 jersey between Ronaldo and Cavani. The Uruguayan scored 10 goals in a single season with the same number.
4. Clinical goalscorer
One of the stark differences with Edinson Cavani was the increase in headed goals. The striker is hailed as one of the best players in the world when it comes to movement inside the box. One of his earliest iconic goals for Manchester United was a header that sealed a 3-2 comeback victory against Southampton.
Six of Cavani’s 11 Premier League goals have come from headers. This has given playmakers like Bruno Fernandes more options in the box, leading to more goals. Cavani has also proved to be a bigger threat than Martial and was a huge upgrade on Odion Ighalo from the previous campaign.
3. Can help in the growth of youngsters
Manchester United have signed relatively younger players under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The club has also stuck to its traditions by giving academy products a lot of game time. The young forwards learn a lot by observing experienced players. This is where Edinson Cavani has played an important role and will continue to do so if he stays further.
Players like Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and others will learn the intricacies of forward play from Cavani. Academy products like Anthony Elanga and Shola Shoretire could pick up invaluable insights while training together with Cavani.
2. A solid partner to Cristiano Ronaldo
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer employed both Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo in a two-man striking partnership against Tottenham Hotspur. The 3-5-2 formation paid a lot of dividends, helping the club decimate Tottenham 3-0 at their own backyard. The front two combined really well since both are immensely experienced and champions of the game.
The 34-year-old is a tireless runner off the ball while Ronaldo prefers to save his legs for important situations. In this way, both players compliment each other. Expectedly, Ronaldo set up Cavani for the second goal against Spurs. The club must do whatever it takes to retain Cavani for another year as it will bring out the best from Ronaldo as well.
1. Loved by the fans
Edinson Cavani immediately became a fan-favourite at Manchester United following his move. The fans were completely in awe of his dedication on the pitch and his instant impact in terms of goals. Cavani settled into life at Manchester seamlessly and has chosen to stay another year to the joy of the fans. Fans of the club flooded social media sites with messages requesting Cavani to stay for another year and he did.
The former PSG player has won even more hearts after giving up the No.7 jersey for Ronaldo, who made an iconic return to his boyhood club. “I have developed a great affection for the club and everything that it represents,” Cavani said while signing the extension. Clearly, the Uruguayan has earned the love of the fans and they will love nothing more than seeing him play for another year.