Manchester United look to be in the market for a striker in the next transfer window, with Edinson Cavani appearing to be the newest talent on their radar and Robin van Persie on his way out, according to reports.
The Mirror has reported that Louis van Gaal will listen to offers for the Dutchman after having a sub par season and being injured for large portions. His contract runs for another season after this one, meaning he could be moving on the cheap if he and United fail to reach an agreement for an extension. There haven’t been any signs of a new contract in the works, so the likelihood is that the once great striker will be departing come summer.
After joining United back in 2012, van Persie made immediate contributions, netting 30 goals in his first season on route to the league title in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final managerial season. But since the United legend left and David Moyes took over, the ‘Flying Dutchman’ has been plagued by injuries and poor runs of form, managing to score only 18 goals under Moyes.
When Louis van Gaal took the reigns, many expected to see a resurgence in form thanks to their partnership for the Dutch national team. Still, van Persie has struggled and United have fared much better without him, winning the five Premier League matches since his injury against Swansea. As such, there’s noticeable frustration from the fan base, many calling for his departure. Some reports have emerged linking him to a move to Fenerbahce.
But fans aren’t calling for Edinson Cavani as his replacement. While van Persie is older at the age of 31, Cavani is already 28 and doesn’t offer much improvement in terms of longevity. The Uruguayan has struggled for Paris Saint German thus far in Ligue 1 this season, scoring a mere eight goals in 28 matches off of 76 shots. Some of that is due to Zlatan Ibrahimavic’s involvement, but the goal scoring output and shooting accuracy are still worse compared to van Persie’s.
Cavani’s best season in the past three years came with Napoli in 2012-13, the same season as van Persie’s debut season for the Red Devils. He scored 29 goals in 33 Seria A appearances, a mind-boggling scoring average. Since then, after joining PSG, his statistics haven’t been nearly as impressive.
His best attributes are his ability to break on the counter and his strength and agility. The problem is, those don’t really fit in all that well with van Gaal’s tactics, preferring possession as opposed to direct play. Cavani would be good late in games when United resort to long balls into the box looking for half-chances, but other than that his playing style would present problems for his involvement. He’s also shown difficulty in pairing up with another striker, something that would only create more issues if he were forced to play alongside Wayne Rooney.
I for one have never been a big fan of his; often times he looks clumsy on the ball and unsure of his feet. I admire that he can contribute defensively and is willing to help, but he lacks the technical ability in my opinion to really present any significant improvement to our current repertoire of strikers. It’d be better for United to bring in a younger talent to play with Rooney, or even give James Wilson an extended run.
While the reports make it seem like a straight swap, United would be losing a world-class striker and gaining a major question mark. Van Persie leaving might make sense, but Cavani coming in just doesn’t.