Gary Neville gives verdict on Man United signing Edinson Cavani
Gary Neville says he's intrigued by Manchester United's swoop to sign Edinson Cavani
Gary Neville has admitted that he is intrigued by Manchester United’s decision to sign veteran striker Edinson Cavani.
The Uruguay international is set to put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Premier League side to become the second summer signing at the 20-time English champions.
Cavani was released by Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the 2019-20 Ligue 1 campaign after seven seasons in the French capital, where he won six top-flight titles.
The 33-year-old has established himself as one of Europe’s top goal-scorers over the past decade following his prolific form for Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain.
The Uruguayan striker scored 200 goals in 301 games in all competition during his seven seasons at PSG.
Cavani will be competing with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Odion Ighalo for a starting spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting XI.
Manchester United have a history of signing veteran strikers over the past five years following the arrivals of Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ighalo.
While Neville didn’t slam the signing of Cavani on a free transfer, the Sky Sports pundit questioned why Manchester United had to wait until the final days of the 2020 summer transfer window to complete some business.
“They need a striker, they need a forward,” Neville told Sky Sports. “My emotion when I heard about it was the feeling that I had when Radamel Falcao signed, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed, when Odion Ighalo signed. It’s very last minute, it’s come out of nowhere.
“There is an element of thrill to it, an element of intrigue, excitement because he’s one of the world’s great strikers over the last five to 10 years, and you hope he can come out here [at Old Trafford] and set the stadium and the Premier League on fire.
“There is an element also of how have we ended up here?
“Manchester United, two or three months ago, had had a great coronavirus period, the club had acted with great class, Marcus Rashford’s work, finished third in the league and you thought, ‘right, that’s as close they can get to [Manchester] City with this team they’ve currently got, and if they can go and get three or four signings they can potentially close the gap this season’.”
Neville added: “Cavani will be welcomed. He’s different from the other strikers, I hope he comes fit, firing. He’s always worked hard, he’s always had a great attitude and work ethic, so I don’t think there’s a doubt around that.
“He’s not the type to come for a swansong or a pay-off, I think he’s got more about it. We had great tussles against him with England. I don’t think he’ll come with anything other than to try to prove himself.
“It’s just a case of I don’t think it was in the strategy, I don’t think it was in the plan, and I certainly don’t think it could have been because something like this couldn’t have been kept quite as long as it has been.”
Manchester United suffered a 6-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday to lose for the second time in three top-flight fixtures.
Solskjaer’s side will make the difficult trip to Newcastle United in their next Premier League game after the international break.
Manchester United only signed Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek and ex-Napoli striker Cavani in the 2020 summer transfer window.