Edinson Cavani is Man United’s only out-and-out centre forward, combines well with Cristiano Ronaldo and is adored by the Old Trafford faithful… It’s little wonder Ralf Rangnick is ‘desperate’ to stop him leaving as his time to shine arrives
- Ralf Rangnick has insisted Edinson Cavani will not be leaving Manchester United
- Uruguayan striker, 34, has endured a frustrating season with injury problems
- Now fit again, Rangnick wants him to partner Cristiano Ronaldo in attack
- Rangnick has realised Cavani is the only genuine centre forward in the squad
- United fans have also taken Cavani to their hearts and want to see more
- Cavani is starting against Wolves this evening – follow all the action HERE
Edinson Cavani revealed last year that his archer goal celebration is both a reference to his daughter India and the indigenous Charrúas people of his native Uruguay.
It might as well be Cupid’s bow and arrow, too, given how Manchester United’s fans have taken the veteran striker to their hearts since he joined last year.
When Cavani was linked with a move away last summer, after just one season, there was a whole charm offensive to persuade him to stay at Old Trafford.
Edinson Cavani performs his trademark goal celebration after scoring against Tottenham
United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick has made clear Cavani won’t be leaving this month
A member of the United kit staff would follow him around singing, to the tune of ABBA’s Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight), the chant fans had come up with in tribute: ‘Give it, give it, give it, to Edi Cavani/Pass him the ball and watch him score all the goals.’
Having spent his first season playing in front of empty stands because of Covid, how could Cavani possibly leave United without hearing 75,000 singing that song to him?
Another chant has emerged this season to demonstrate fan affection for him. It goes: ‘I am in love, I can’t deny/Our No 7 is the King of Uruguay/El Matador, who could that be/His first name’s Edinson, his second’s Cavani.’
The No 7 shirt may have gone back to Cristiano Ronaldo but the love-bombing of Cavani continues. Now it’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick letting him feel the warmth.
Cavani has endured a season of frustration so far and the 34-year-old has been linked with a January move to Barcelona.
The Uruguayan has become a popular figure among the United fans who sing songs about him
A forward line of Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Cavani – combined age 70 – could be Rangnick’s preference going forward for United
Man United fixtures
Premier League unless stated
Monday Wolves (H)
January 10 Aston Villa (H) – FA Cup third round
January 15 Aston Villa (A)
January 22 West Ham (H)
February 8 Burnley (A)
February 12 Southampton (H)
There was social media consternation among some fans after last week’s win over Burnley when Cavani appeared to be waving goodbye and blowing kisses to the crowd.
But Rangnick and United will do everything in their power to keep Cavani at the club until at least the summer. And with good reason.
He has started just three games all season, with Ronaldo’s return squeezing out of that attack-leading position he prefers when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was still in charge.
A niggling tendon injury in his leg has restricted time on the pitch as well. Cavani has managed only 408 minutes of football for his club so far this season.
It’s clear from Rangnick, however, that Cavani still has a big role to play this season. Class is permanent, especially when it comes to the Uruguayan.
‘Edi knows that I will definitely not let him go. He is a highly important player for the rest of the season,’ Rangnick said ahead of Monday’s home game with Wolves.
‘I told him from the very first day that he is a highly important player. We are still playing in three competitions, so we will definitely need Edi.
‘His professionalism and work ethic are amazing and I told him that I desperately want him to stay until the end of the season.
‘He knows how highly I rate him and respect him.’
Some United fans are worried Cavani’s display of affection to them after the 3-1 win over Burnley on Thursday was his way of saying goodbye
The Uruguayan marked his return to fitness by scoring United’s equalising goal at Newcastle
Putting emotions to one side, there is a practical foundation to Rangnick’s determination to keep Cavani.
Playing the German’s favoured 4-2-2-2 system, United have given the impression of a jigsaw with a few pieces missing.
They’ve gone from an accent on width and Bruno Fernandes as a clearly-defined No 10 under Solskjaer to a more narrow shape that requires two good forwards.
Fernandes hasn’t hidden his disgruntlement at his new role, while the likes of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood will require time to adapt. Quite how Paul Pogba slots back in remains to be seen.
But what is clear is that Rangnick needs Cavani to partner Ronaldo up front. As the coach pointed out: ‘He is probably the only one who can play as a striker back to goal and face to goal.’
Cavani scored a sensational long-range goal against Fulham towards the end of last season
But the season ended in disappointment as United lost the Europa League final to Villarreal
In other words, Cavani is United’s only real out-and-out centre forward and his hold-up and goal poaching abilities will be needed as they push for a top four finish in the Premier League, FA Cup progress and an unlikely Champions League triumph.
That may seem a little harsh on Greenwood, who is a first rate finisher with both feet, but it’s evident that Cavani and Ronaldo work better together.
The fact United’s front line will have a combined age of 70 won’t bother Rangnick, or the fans, in then slightest if they combine to score a bagful of goals in the second half of the season.
We saw a glimpse of this potential in the dying days of Solskjaer’s reign when Cavani and Ronaldo combined to good effect in the 3-0 win at Tottenham.
Cavani then missed eight league games with his tendon problem and when he returned an awful lot of water had flowed under the bridge at Old Trafford.
United fans will hope for a lot more of this in the months to come if Cavani remains fit and firing
But as the second-half of the draw at Newcastle, in which Cavani scored his second goal of the season, and the win over Burnley proved, this is the partnership to go forward with.
The 3-1 win on Thursday night was United’s most complete under Rangnick and followed some very underwhelming performances against Norwich and Newcastle either side of their enforced Covid break.
We can expect Cavani and Ronaldo to start together against Wolves and in the important set of fixtures coming up as United try to keep in touch with the top four.
We can expect a clear-out of the United squad this month but Cavani won’t be going anywhere. This love affair hasn’t finished yet.
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