Edinson Cavani will be blocked from leaving Manchester United in January as manager Ralf Rangnick insists the striker ‘has to STAY’ as he remains too important to his attacking plans
- Edinson Cavani has been frustrated at his lack of Manchester United minutes
- But Ralf Rangnick insists he is a big fan of the forward and needs him at the club
- Rangnick admitted he had spoken to no other player more than Cavani so far
- Interim United boss is also keen to keep a bigger squad amid Covid threat
Edinson Cavani must stay at Manchester United as interim boss Ralf Rangnick tries to limit the number of players who leave Old Trafford in the January transfer window.
Cavani is one of the United stars who have grown unsettled over the first half of the season, making just three starts.
The Uruguay striker agreed to sign on for a second year at Old Trafford before Cristiano Ronaldo made an unexpected return to the club, and his opportunities have also been limited by a niggling tendon problem in his leg.
Edinson Cavani has been frustrated at his lack of first-team action for Manchester United
Since the return of Cristiano Ronaldo (right), Cavani (left) has struggled for game time
It has led to speculation over Cavani’s future amid interest from clubs in Europe and South America, but Rangnick insists he will not let him leave this month.
The German has spoken to Cavani at length and said that he ‘desperately’ wants him to stay until the summer because he is the only genuine target man in the squad.
Rangnick started the 34-year-old alongside Ronaldo for only the second time this season in Thursday’s win over Burnley and is likely to do so again when Wolves visit Old Trafford on Monday evening.
‘Edi knows that I will definitely not let him go,’ said Rangnick. ‘He is a highly important player for the rest of the season. For me, it’s clear that Edi has to stay.
But interim United boss Ralf Rangnick believes Cavani has a vital role to play at Old Trafford
As the only target man in the United team, Rangnick hopes to utilise the Uruguayan more
‘We had quite a few conversations in the last couple of weeks. He is probably the player with whom I have spoken most.
‘I told him from the very first day that he is a highly important player. He is probably the only one who can play as a striker back to goal and face to goal. We are still playing in three competitions, so we will definitely need Edi.
‘His professionalism and work ethic are just amazing, and I told him that I desperately want him to stay until the end of the season.
‘He knows that. He also knows how highly I rate him and how highly I respect him. That was also the reason why I played him from the beginning together with Cristiano (against Burnley).’
Anthony Martial, Dean Henderson, Donny van de Beek, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Phil Jones are also keen to go out on loan this month.
However, Rangnick will not stand in the way of fellow forward Martial who wants out
Rangnick admitted that Martial’s continued absence is due to the player’s desire to leave after United rejected an offer from Sevilla because it did not cover enough of his £200,000-a-week salary.
Rangnick added: ‘It has nothing to do with injuries. He made it very clear that he wants to leave and, in a way, I can understand his wish to play more regularly somewhere else.
‘But, again, it’s also a question of which kind of clubs are interested in him and if they meet the demands of the club, so we have to wait and see.’
Van de Beek’s frustration has continued after playing just six minutes in four Premier League games under the new manager who is nevertheless keen for him to stay until the end of the season at least.
Donny van de Beek is also concerned over his lack of first team minutes but is likely to stay
Rangnick said: ‘I also had a longer conversation with him last week about that. Of course, it’s difficult for him right now because he also wants to play for the Dutch national team. He wants to play in the World Cup in Qatar, and in order to do that he needs to get game time here.
‘But I still believe that we should keep him, that he should stay here, definitely until the end of this season and try to get as much game time as he possibly can.’
Mata and Jones may be allowed to leave this month but Rangnick wants three goalkeepers so Henderson is set to stay. Lingard will have to wait until he is a free agent in the summer when Cavani and Paul Pogba will also be out of contract.
‘I know from some players that they would want to leave,’ said Rangnick. ‘Our squad is maybe a little bit too big but we still have Covid and three competitions. I think we could do with a bigger squad than maybe in times without Covid.’
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