Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has perfect support act for Erling Haaland or Harry Kane
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Manchester United owners the Glazer family have publicly promised to fans to support Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by strengthening the club’s first-team squad in the summer transfer window, with Erling Haaland or Harry Kane among the high-profile potential additions that could be made.
Jadon Sancho, Haaland’s Borussia Dortmund team-mate, is another possible recruit while United also want to strengthen at centre-back and at right-back as they make further tweaks to bridge the gap to rivals Manchester City.
The acquisition of a Haaland or a Kane is what many feel United are crying out for with club legend Paul Scholes declaring last week that a centre-froward is the “top priority”.
That is despite the fine form of late of Edinson Cavani, who is now up to 15 goals and five assists in 35 appearances this term, 10 of those contributions coming in his last seven matches.
Cavani’s latest goal off the bench in Sunday’s 3-1 win at Aston Villa saw him match a United record in the Premier League era.
He now has as many league goals off the bench in a single campaign as a substitute as Javier Hernandez managed in 2010-11 and manager Solskjaer produced in 1998-99, with five.
And that means if United are able to tie Cavani down to a one-year contract extension while also signing a new No 9 in either Haaland or Kane, the Uruguayan has shown he can be the ideal back-up option to a younger starting striker.
The veteran South American has proven his worth on multiple occasions for United this term and Solskjaer has made it clear he’s desperate to keep the 34-year-old and for him to experience scoring at a sold-out Old Trafford.
Another club legend in Rio Ferdinand meanwhile tweeted on Sunday after Cavani’s Villa Park effort: “Mr @ECavaniOfficial pls stay. Thank you.”
Earlier in the week, though, Ferdinand said on BT Sport: “The only thing I’m worried about is if you let Haaland or Kane go somewhere else, it’s one season that they’ll get Cavani for, so what happens the year after that if they let the other two go somewhere else?
“As much as I love Cavani, if you’ve got the finances to keep him there still and, like the old days, you’ve got two players vying for that same position who you can bring in and out. It’s a squad game these days, more than ever.
“The quality and depth is huge.
“If you look at the teams who do well, Bayern Munich last season and Man City this season, the depth, even Chelsea, in all positions. It’s a big bonus.”
And Cavani’s impact off the bench this season suggests next year, when United need to be at their best week-in, week-out in the Premier League and in Europe to challenge for the big prizes, he can be an ideal option in reserve or when Solskjaer rotates his team.
Haaland or Kane will not come cheaply, both likely to command at least £150m in transfer fees and hundreds of thousands of pounds a week in wages, if indeed they can even be prised from Dortmund or Tottenham at all.
And given such pay-packets and the incredible productivity of the two frontmen, there is no doubting that their arrivals would demote Cavani to the bench far more regularly.
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Yet Cavani might be willing to put pen to paper to continue his career at the highest level for another 12 months before then returning to South America to see out his career. He’s shown he has the abilities to be able to.
And with United keen to go deep into the Champions League as well as rivalling Manchester City, Chelsea and possibly Liverpool and more for the league title, Cavani will still get plenty of game time even if he wouldn’t be the first choice centre-forward.
The real question is whether Haaland or Kane can be brought to Old Trafford given the immense finances it would take to do so.
But if the Glazers are serious about spending the cash, having publicly backed Solskjaer in their quest to end what is set to increase to a nine-year title if Man City win the league in the next fortnight, then Cavani is the ideal support man.
Having him as the reserve to a lethal finisher like Haaland or Kane would seriously bolster United’s chances of a first league title since 2013 next term.
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