Widely rated as one of the best strikers in the world during his pomp, Edinson Cavani heads into the latter stages of his career with a point to prove.
The 33-year-old has been a prolific scorer throughout his career, but a lack of playing time during 2020 left many fans wondering whether he can still cut it at the top level.
Manchester United’s decision to sign the former Paris Saint-Germain star on a free transfer raised plenty of eyebrows, particularly as their main transfer target was supposedly Jadon Sancho.
Despite this, those looking to bet on a successful season for the Red Devils will hope that he can have the same sort of impact that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had on the club.
The Fading Force Question
Injuries severely impacted Cavani’s productivity during his final season with PSG and United will be hoping that he can stay fit this time around.
He scored just four goals in Ligue 1 last term – a tally that was in stark contrast to the 35 he rattled home during the 2016/17 campaign.
Cavani’s goal return has been steadily declining over the past few seasons, but his experience could prove to be invaluable to United.
The Red Devils have a mixed record when it comes to signing experienced strikers, and they will be desperate not to have made another mistake with Cavani.
The Experience Factor
With a packed schedule ahead of United, having a player of Cavani’s experience around the dressing room could be vital to their hopes of success this season.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford should both benefit from his presence, while promising youngster Mason Greenwood will hopefully learn plenty.
Cavani is a predator inside the penalty area, thus giving manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a different type of option in forward areas.
His movement, ability to find space and reading of the game should all prove to be beneficial to United as the season progresses.
The Ibrahimovic Angle
The likes of Radamel Falcao, Alexis Sanchez and Bastian Schweinsteiger all arrived at Old Trafford with big reputations, and each turned out to be costly flops.
However, United had much better luck when they signed Ibrahimovic, with the Swedish star showing that signing veteran players can be a positive move.
The Swedish star scored 28 goals during his first season, galvanising his teammates and helping United win both the EFL Cup and Europa League.
He is still strutting his stuff with AC Milan in Serie A, and Cavani will be eager to match his achievements with United.
The Pogba Conundrum
Comparing Cavani and Ibrahimovic in terms of dressing room impact takes on another dimension when considering that the two players didn’t see eye-to-eye during their time together at PSG.
This factor highlights that Cavani isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and that could produce an interesting dynamic at United, especially where Paul Pogba is concerned.
The French midfielder has divided opinion during his second spell at United, and some of his antics may not sit too well with Cavani.
Jose Mourinho described Pogba as a ‘virus’ while in charge at United, and it will be interesting to see how the dynamic develops with Cavani over the coming months.
The Final Word
Signing a veteran forward who has struggled with injuries over the past year is undoubtedly a risky move by United.
However, Cavani is a driven individual who will be keen to prove that he still has what it takes to nail down a regular spot in United’s starting XI.
Cavani’s experience should prove to be invaluable to United, and he can have a similar impact at Old Trafford to the one made by Ibrahimovic.