LONDON • Edinson Cavani is expected to be confirmed as a Manchester United player today after flying into England yesterday for talks and a medical.
The free agent, who has been without a club since leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of June, is set to sign a one-year deal, with an option for an additional year.
Cavani’s agent Walter Guglielmone told Inside Futbol on Saturday night: “It’s true. There is an agreement.”
The Uruguayan striker will add competition to their front line in a compressed season affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Odion Ighalo is providing backup to Anthony Martial but will return to Shanghai Shenhua when his loan expires at the end of January.
Cavani, PSG’s all-time top scorer with 200 goals in seven seasons at the Parc des Princes, could make his debut against his former club as United open their Champions League campaign away to the French champions on Oct 20.
He has also scored 50 goals in 116 appearances for Uruguay.
United believe the 33-year-old can bring a winning mentality, leadership and experience to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s young squad. He has won 20 honours in his time in Europe and also claimed the Copa America with Uruguay in 2011.
The hope is that Mason Greenwood, 18, Marcus Rashford, 22, and Martial, 24, can learn from Cavani.
United also point to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s successful spell at the club for signing a veteran. The Swede arrived at Old Trafford in 2016 at the age of 34 and scored 28 goals in 46 games in his first season at the club.
United fans, however, will also remember expensive older flops in Radamel Falcao, 28 in 2014, and Alexis Sanchez, 29 in 2018. The latter was given a £350,000-a-week (S$617,411) contract. Cavani reportedly took home £360,000-a-week at PSG but the Daily Mail reported that his United deal will be worth £210,000 after tax.
United tried to sign Cavani during David Moyes’ reign in 2014, when he was one of the world’s most coveted strikers.
Yet his impending arrival on transfer deadline day hints at desperation, not least because he has been available all summer.
The club have been criticised by fans for their lack of activity in the transfer market, which they went into with the aim of signing a winger, left-back and centre-back.
Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek is the only signing of the window so far with the Red Devils refusing to match Borussia Dortmund’s asking price of £108 million for first-choice target Jadon Sancho.
Watford’s Ismaila Sarr, Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa, and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele have been considered as alternatives but the winger who is due in Manchester today is 18-year-old Facundo Pellistri from Penarol.
The Uruguayan, recommended by his former Penarol coach and United striker Diego Forlan, is expected to cost £10 million.
Questions over defensive reinforcements in light of United’s frailties at the back remain.
Despite being linked with RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, United still have not brought in a central defender that could partner captain Harry Maguire.
The club are reportedly working on a deal to sign Porto left-back Alex Telles after watching their other target Sergio Reguilon move to rivals Tottenham.
Former United defender Gary Neville has been frustrated by the lack of new signings.
“United just don’t seem to be able to get deals done. Even with Harry Maguire last year, it dragged on right to the end, Sancho this year,” he said. “They just don’t seem to be able to get deals over the line, they don’t seem to be able to get things done.”