Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Cavani reaches agreement to join UCL semi-finalists, with ex-Man Utd hitman to force £20m striker out

Ex-Man Utd striker Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani has reached an agreement in principle to join a LaLiga side, though his arrival first depends on a £20m striker making way, per the Spanish press.

The Uruguayan veteran, 35, joined Manchester United in 2020. He arrived with a reputation as one of Europe’s finest forwards over the last decade, though questions were asked as to how much he had left in the tank.

Cavani proved the doubters wrong in his first campaign, finishing with 17 goals in 39 appearances across all competitions.

He struggled with injury second time round, while the return of Cristiano Ronaldo put a severe restriction on his minutes when fit.

Cavani was among a host of star names who have left Old Trafford for free this summer. The likes of Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata still haven’t found new clubs, though Cavani soon might.

Per Spanish outlet Marca, Villarreal have forged an agreement in principle to sign Cavani.

If the move goes through, Cavani would link up with one of his previous managers from his time at PSG – Unai Emery.

He’d also be joining a team trending in the right direction after Villarreal upset the odds to reach the Champions League semi-finals last season.

They counted Juventus and Bayern Munich among the teams they dumped out of the competition before bowing out to Liverpool.

Cavani to force £20m+ striker out

Villarreal will have to settle for Europa Conference League action next term after finishing seventh in Spain. However, the lure of playing in LaLiga is likely to appeal after previously trying his hand in Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Premier League.

But before Cavani can officially join, Marca state Paco Alcacer must be moved out first.

The 28-year-old became Villarreal’s club-record signing when arriving for just north of £20m in 2020. However, the report notes Alcacer – who is training separately from the core group – must find a new club before Cavani can take his place.

Marca also note Villarreal have pulled off something of a coup after Cavani was deep in negotiations with Turkish side Fenerbahce. Their loss looks like it’ll be Villarreal’s gain – assuming Alcacer makes way first.

Man Utd pre-season justifies Cavani decision

One look at United’s pre-season results indicates why Cavani wasn’t offered a new deal. However, it is the manner of performances from those in the final third that is the true indicator.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial have all found the net twice in United’s first three pre-season games.

Even more encouraging is the way in which they have quickly taken Erik ten Hag’s demand for high intensity pressure on board.

The trio are all in their early-mid twenties and are causing opposition defences all manner of problems.

Cavani was a workhorse too, though at 35, was no longer capable of pressurising defences as he once did.

The decision to let Cavani walk already looks the correct one. The next big decision facing Ten Hag will be what role he affords Cristiano Ronaldo if he remains at Old Trafford next season.

At 37, he is a poor fit for Ten Hag’s style of play and those playing in his absence are already proving their worth.