Manchester United announced the signing of Uruguayan superstar, Edinson Cavani, just before the transfer deadline and since then, there have been mixed reactions from their fans. Many have been left disappointed that their biggest signing of a window that promised so much is a 33-year old whom many seem to believe is past his prime.
It hasn’t helped that he has picked up the Number 7 jersey many had been daydreaming about seeing Jadon Sancho in, a transfer that ultimately didn’t happen after loads of speculation. It must be remembered also that that jersey has been regarded as cursed by many people seeing as no player who has worn it since Ronaldo left in 2009 has had any success at the club.
But we believe that United fans have loads of reasons to be excited about this signing. Now, let us examine what fans can expect Cavani to bring to Manchester.
One thing Manchester United have lacked for a long time is a pure Number 9 who stays upfront when he is needed there and moves properly to create opportunities for certain passes leading to immediate danger for the opponent. Many have complained about the lack of movement in attack, especially from Anthony Martial who has been adapting to the role for a while.
Having arguably the player with the best-attacking movement in football over the past decade instantly changes the dynamics in attack for Manchester United. Cavani’s movement is insane and he constantly confuses opposition defenses with it. His movement also disrupts the defensive shape of opponents, opening up spaces that the likes of Van De Beek and Bruno Fernandes have been known to love exploiting.
Even the wide forwards like Rashford and Martial (who would likely go back wide) would benefit greatly from Cavani’s movement as spaces will also open things up. When you’re playing against a team that sits back – the type of opponents that Man Utd have consistently struggled to break down – a guy like Cavani provides invaluable solutions. Movement is one of the most important ways to dismantle a parked bus. Cavani will surely help with that.
Cavani is also a well-known goalscorer. It’s understandable that people are wary with their expectations and many expect him to flop. Many still remember how excited they were to be getting Falcao after he recovered from his ACL injury only for him to ultimately flop. The difference is, even though Cavani has had his injury issues over the past year, he did not have an ACL injury. Getting back to form following that injury is one of the hardest things in football. It explains why it took Falcao almost two years to find form again. Cavani won’t have such problems.
Of course, he could still flop but as a consistent top level goalscorer for a decade, the more likely outcome is that he will score a lot of goals. He has a variety of finishes in his arsenal, is great in the air, has an immense workrate, knows how to consistently create the opportunity to get chances with his movement and more.
His Finishing Ability
Cavani is a way better finisher than people realise. The myth about him always missing loads of chances has gone on so long, riding on the back of the few really bad games that everyone watched and vividly remember. He is one of those victims of everyone watching you on the exact day that everything goes wrong for you. In league football between August 2015 and July 2019, Edinson Cavani missed 85 big chances in 121 games. Lewandowski missed 105 big chances in 128 games, Suarez missed 102 big chances in 136 games. His shot conversion rate has been better than Aguero in 3 of the 4 seasons in that period too. One can go on and on.
The reality is that Cavani just has a bad rep for things every striker does. Last season, Lewandowski missed a whopping 42 big chances in 47 games. No one focused on those misses because he also scored a ridiculous amount of goals and barely had a game where he didn’t score. Lewandowski is rightly regarded as the best striker in the world right now. As long as a striker is consistently scoring, his misses should not matter. He should not be viewed only through the lenses of his misses.
The good thing about Cavani is that once he misses a chance, his head does not drop. He comes back 5 minutes later to get another chance and he will almost certainly score. If he doesn’t, he returns yet again 5 minutes later to get another chance. The best players understand that volume is key, not necessarily efficiency. If you put yourself in a position to get many chances, you will score a high volume of goals regardless of the amount you miss.
All in all, there are certainly reasons to fear that Cavani would be yet another expensive signing that did not work out for Manchester United. It doesn’t help that Ole’s tactics often limit the entire Man United team.
Regardless, there are lots of reasons to be excited about Cavani and what he can bring to Manchester United. Signing the 4th highest goalscorer of the 2010s – behind only Messi, Ronaldo and Lewandowski (by a tiny margin) – when he isn’t done yet is a great coup by Manchester United. They could reap the benefits if things go well for Cavani. Hopefully, he doesn’t flop.
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