Edinson Cavani has reportedly set his sights on a move to the Premier League after falling under fierce scrutiny at Paris Saint-Germain, with Manchester United leading the way to land the Uruguayan's signature.
Martin Lipton of the Mirror believes the striker "fancies" a transfer to Old Trafford, "despite" United's failure to qualify for next season's Champions League and the current lack of manager. Lipton identifies an inside source who also suggests Cavani is ready to leave the Parc des Princes:
Edinson believes he will be a perfect fit in England. He knows that United, Manchester City and Chelsea are all interested and would be happy to talk to any of them. But he also knows United seem the most keen and that is a factor.
Daniel Taylor of the Guardian previously reported meetings between United and the Ligue 1 champions:
More info today about Edinson Cavani too. #MUFC definitely in for him. At least one meeting already in Paris.— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) April 26, 2014
Cavani has scored 20 goals in 35 appearances across the domestic division and Champions League in his debut season for PSG, per WhoScored.com. Laurent Blanc often deploys him on the left of a 4-3-3 that prioritises Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front, a tactical decision that continues to undermine Cavani's best qualities.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has suggested the forward will have to get used to playing where the manager sees it, indicating he is unlikely to be sold, reported by RMC, via Ian Holyman of ESPN FC:
If he wants to change position, that's not his decision, it's that of the coach and he understands that. He's here to play where the coach decides to put him.
He can talk with the staff and the club, but the decision will be that he stays with us. He's a star for the club. Of course he's staying.
A lethal finisher in and around the box, Cavani is best suited to being on the receiving end of chances, not setting them up.
Should Edinson Cavani join Manchester United in the summer?
He has just one assist to his name this campaign and has failed to impress during Ibrahimovic's recent stint on the sidelines. Cavani was the leading striker during the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Chelsea, where he missed a vital chance and was unable to positively impact the match.
PSG's decision to sell may be influenced by their breach of UEFA's financial fair play guidelines. The club's punishment "could range from a reprimand to a fine up to restrictions on the squad for European competition next season," suggesting they may need to sell a star name in order to help improve their financial books, per Sky Sports.
It is difficult to imagine Cavani fitting in at Old Trafford while Robin van Persie remains at the club. Both excel when playing centrally in a lone role and are unlikely to enjoy battling it out for a place in the first team.
Although competition is healthy, the duo's hold-up play and busyness in the final third are perhaps too similar for them to work alongside each other.
Van Persie may also feel buoyed by the departure of David Moyes. With Louis van Gaal the current favourite to take over—a coach who utilises RvP as his captain for the Dutch international side—it's unlikely the Netherlands hero will exit, per Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail.
Cavani would undoubtedly represent a huge statement of intent for the Premier League club. This season has been one of massive disappointment for United, who have lacked power through the middle and bite up front.
The former Napoli striker's natural work rate and willingness to bring others into play would slot into United's style, particularly if the new manager wishes to emphasise the use of wingers. Considering a team including Cavani and Wayne Rooney will be a mouth-watering prospect for many, especially with United expected to bolster their options across the board via a summer revamp.