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Edinson Cavani: Man Utd sign ex-PSG striker on free transfer

Cavani joined PSG from Napoli in 2013 and helped them win six Ligue 1 titlesManchester United have signed former Paris St-Germain striker Edinson Cavani on a free transfer.The 33-year-old Uruguay international, who left PSG at the end of June, has signed a one-year contract.Cavani has scored 341 goals in 556 club matches, including a record…

Edinson Cavani
Cavani joined PSG from Napoli in 2013 and helped them win six Ligue 1 titles

Manchester United have signed former Paris St-Germain striker Edinson Cavani on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old Uruguay international, who left PSG at the end of June, has signed a one-year contract.

Cavani has scored 341 goals in 556 club matches, including a record 200 in 301 appearances for the French giants. He also has 50 goals in 116 Uruguay games.

One of his first United games could come against PSG in the Champions League group match on 20 October.

Before that, United face Newcastle United in the Premier League on 17 October, the first game after the international break.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are 16th in the table, having picked up only three points from their opening three league matches.

They were thrashed 6-1 at home by Tottenham on Sunday.

“Manchester United is one of the greatest clubs in the world, so it is a real honour to be here,” said Cavani. “I’ve worked really hard during the time off and I feel eager to compete and represent this incredible club.

“I have played in front of some of the most passionate supporters in football during my career and I know that it will be the same in Manchester. I cannot wait to experience the Old Trafford atmosphere, when it is safe for the fans to return.

“I look forward to continuing to write my little story inside the book of football and I know that’s why my focus has to remain the same as always – work, work, work. I have had a conversation with the manager and this has increased my desire to wear this beautiful shirt.”

It is understood that the wage package for Cavani does not go beyond the pay structure at the club.

Cavani left PSG under a cloud following a disagreement with forward Neymar and feels he has more to give to European football.

United boss Solskjaer said the striker was an “experienced ultimate professional who always gives everything for his team”.

“His goalscoring record for club and country is fantastic and we are delighted to sign a player of his calibre,” he added.

“He’ll bring energy, power, leadership and a great mentality to the squad but, most importantly, he’ll bring goals.

“He has had a brilliant career so far, winning trophies at almost every club he has played for, and he still has so much more to give at the highest level.

“The opportunity for our young players to learn from one of Europe’s top goalscorers over the last 10 years is fantastic and it will really benefit them going forward.”

He is not the first high-profile European striker in his 30s United have signed in the hope of extending their goalscoring prowess.

Former Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic proved a shrewd acquisition, scoring 29 times in 53 appearances over two spells between 2016 and 2018.

Cavani, who has the option to extend his contract by a year, will provide an experienced forward option for United and competition for younger forwards Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

Analysis – Will he improve United or be another high-profile flop?

BBC Sport’s Simon Stone

Given the outcome of most of the big names United have signed over the past six years, fans can be forgiven feeling somewhat underwhelmed at the prospect of signing Cavani.

Radamel Falcao, Alexis Sanchez, Angel di Maria and Bastian Schweinsteiger all arrived at Old Trafford to huge fanfare, with massive reputations, and flopped disastrously at enormous cost. Why, they argue, will Cavani be any different?

The answer will only come when Cavani starts to play. But United feel the manner of his exit from PSG leaves him with something to prove.

The key element is how will Solskjaer use Cavani – and whose place is at risk.

United’s fixture schedule is packed. They have 10 successive midweek matches from middle of October to after Christmas. It is impossible any single player will be involved in all of these games.

Cavani provides an option. He is more of a natural number nine than any other striker on United’s books and his striker’s instinct may put defences on the back foot more than has been the case in the opening couple of Premier League games.

In addition, with the arrival of Donny van de Beek, Solskjaer now has options in terms of not just personnel but also formation.

Season Club Games Goals
2019-20 PSG 22 7
2018-19 PSG 33 23
2017-18 PSG 48 40
2016-17 PSG 50 49

‘Cavani is world class’

Micah Richards, former Man City defender on BBC Sport

People need to put more respect on Edinson Cavani’s name. He is world class.

I know he is 33, but he has still got top quality. He is exactly the player Manchester United need right now.

He presses from the front; he scores goals.

He is not going to be a part of a five-year plan but as a stop-gap to give United more time to bring in players over the coming seasons. He will be a massive player for Manchester United.

‘He is something to get excited about’

BBC World Service’s John Bennett

The way this move has happened and the timing will no doubt leave United fans asking more questions about the club’s recruitment strategy but focusing solely on the player. Seeing Cavani in a United shirt is something to get excited about.

His quality is not in question – 341 goals and 65 assists in 556 club games speaks for itself.

Last season was a disappointment but that seemed out of Cavani’s hands as he appeared to be pushed aside by PSG in the final year of his contract. Many PSG fans (and indeed Thiago Silva) were upset by the way he was treated. His father accused PSG of a lack of respect towards his son.

His attitude is a huge plus point too. Cavani is a very competitive person, works hard on and off the pitch, is highly respected and will be a positive influence on Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, who surely can only learn from someone with Cavani’s experience.

He will also have something to prove after his difficult final year and difficult summer trying to find a new club. Can you imagine how motivated he will be when United meet PSG in the Champions League?

The one huge doubt, of course, is his age and his fitness. At 33, can he deliver the numbers he used to in a congested Premier League season? That’s the big question. But if United get him anywhere near to his best Cavani should be a huge asset after a very tough start to the campaign.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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