Barcelona plot hard-line January approach for Man Utd star critical to Solskjaer revival

Date published: Tuesday 9th November 2021 2:16 - Steve Pearson

Cavani, Pogba, Van de Beek Man Utd

Barcelona are mulling a January raid for Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani, but the Spanish side’s hard-line approach may hand Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a reprieve.

In direct response to their 5-0 humbling at the hands of Liverpool, Manchester United implemented a formation change. Solskjaer has since deployed a three-man backline, allowing for a more willing runner to partner Cristiano Ronaldo up top.

The change has delivered mixed results so far. United thumped Tottenham prior to Nuno Espirito Santo’s sacking. However, they struggled against Atalanta and were comfortably sunk by Manchester City on Saturday.

But with United having kept just two clean sheets in 16 matches across all competitions this year, the new formation could be here to stay.

If it does, Edinson Cavani will be of critical importance to the system. The Uruguayan’s willingness to press opposition defenders has been praised. Furthermore, he already appears to have developed a promising understanding with Ronaldo in their limited outings together thus far.

However, Cavani is in the final year of his contract at Old Trafford. Reports have suggested he will move on at the end of the season, with a return to South America to link up with Boca Juniors a distinct possibility.

Another potential landing spot is Barcelona. The Spanish giant are on the lookout for immediate reinforcements for their under-strength forward line.

Martin Braithwaite is sidelined with a serious knee injury. Furthermore, Sergio Aguero will miss a minimum of three months after being diagnosed with a heart problem.

And according to Sport Witness, Cavani has been installed as an option for new manager Xavi.

However, the club’s perilous financial situation will see them insist on the absence of a fee in any potential move. Predictably, United aren’t on board with that narrative, with the article stating they would ‘demand a fee’ before sanctioning a January exit.

Whether Barcelona would therefore be targeting a loan deal, or the signing of a pre-contract agreement ahead of a free agent swoop next summer is unstated.

Nevertheless, we suspect United and especially Solskjaer will be extremely reluctant to let Cavani go in any case.


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Man Utd considering curious Sancho change

Meanwhile, Jadon Sancho could be converted into a different position if Manchester United persist with Solskjaer’s new formation, according to a report.

Solskjaer recently switched United’s formation to a 3-4-1-2. In such a system, there is no room for a natural winger. With that in mindThe Athletic claim that United’s coaches are considering converting Sancho into a right wing-back.

It seems quite a drastic step for a player whose goal tallies reached double figures in each of his last three seasons with Dortmund. But at present, there is no role in which Sancho could function in the system United may be sticking with.

Furthermore, club chiefs are growing increasingly concerned about Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s attacking output. The former Crystal Palace man is the club’s current first-choice right-back.

But he has always impressed more defensively than going forwards. Pushed further forward in the new setup, those concerns will only become more prominent.

Coincidentally, reports as far back as June suggested Wan-Bissaka could become a centre-back in a back three. It would leave United with a dilemma over how to fill the wing-back spot, despite the presence of Diogo Dalot.

READ MORE: Euro Paper Talk: Star’s decline sees Murtough rush through major Man Utd signing

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