Buenos Aires has classic grandeur, world-famous steakhouses, the passion of the tango and lots of sunshine. Manchester has old cotton mills, the hotpot, Stone Roses and a persistent drizzle.
Still, with his satisfying Mancunian-Norwegian hybrid accent, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done his best to convince Edinson Cavani to stay with Manchester United a little longer.
Cavani’s heart might be at Boca Juniors, but Solskjaer plays the local guide to hold on to the phenomenal 34-year-old striker for another year.
Edinson Cavani celebrates in signature style after scoring his second goal against Roma
The Uruguayan forward’s performance in United’s 6-2 win was his best yet for the club
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing his best to convince Cavani to stay another year
“This year has been very difficult, but I promised him Old Trafford and Manchester is another place with no fans in the stadium,” Solskjaer said after Cavani’s two goals and three assists brought United a giant step closer to the Europa League final.
‘Manchester is a fantastic place to live. I’m doing my best, let’s see. ‘
It is remarkable that Solskjaer may have managed to do it. ESPN reported Friday that Cavani has ‘changed his mind’ and will stay with United for a little longer. We are waiting for confirmation.
Class is clearly permanent when it comes to the Uruguayan and while a return to South America for the twilight years of his career may be the romantic option, he can clearly still do a brilliant job at the highest level for United.
His time at Old Trafford may have started slowly, but Cavani is now one of United’s most influential players and they must do everything they can to convince him to stay.
Those two goals in Thursday’s 6-2 thrashing by Roma made 12 for the season and five in his last five games. It also saw Cavani surpass 50 Champions League and Europa League goals in his career.
Cavani would like to join Boca Juniors in Argentina and gain experience playing at La Bombonera
The allure of Buenos Aires (pictured) is clear, but Solskjaer spoke to Cavani about Manchester’s charms
Cavani at Man United
Matches 33 Begins 17
Goals 12 Helps 5
UNITED TOP SCORERS 2020-21
26 – Bruno Fernandes
20 – Marcus Rashford
12 – Edinson Cavani
10 – Mason Greenwood
7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay
6 – Paul Pogba
Even if Anthony Martial were fit at the moment, it is doubtful he would be ahead of Cavani as United’s first-choice striker.
The understanding the veteran forward developed with Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and others was gloriously visible at Old Trafford on Thursday.
It would be a shame if this is over in a month.
Cavani’s time at Old Trafford was more Zlatan Ibrahimovic than Radamel Falcao and to come to the club and fail to score for a full and adoring Stretford End is a shame.
The call for Cavani to stay becomes deafening. On BT Sport, Paul Scholes described his performance against Roma as ‘the achievement of an all-round center forward’.
He added: ‘We’ve seen players like this, Marcus [Rashford], Mason [Greenwood], [Anthony] Martial, we’re not quite sure if they’re striker. That’s what you say tonight, that’s a real striker out there. ‘
Owen Hargreaves, standing next to Scholes, praised a ‘real’ thoroughbred center forward, something of a dying breed these days.
A United fan on Twitter suggested that Solskjaer lock Cavani in the locker room and not release him until the contract extension was signed.
That probably got through to Solskjaer, but he hopes that a combination of winning the Europa League, the Champions League football next season, the feeling of United’s gradual rebuilding and a little more freedom to discover Manchester’s charms, it work.
The forward has scored 12 goals this season despite missing a number of games due to injury
He was twice on the score sheet when he helped United beat Roma 6-2 in the Europa League
Old Trafford rocks when United’s fans are at their best on the big occasions, but it’s not quite Boca’s La Bombonera. There is also the added factor that Cavani wants to get closer to his family in Uruguay.
Last month, his father Luis said: ‘My son is uncomfortable in England and wants to be close to the family again. Edinson is going to play in South America – he would love to play for Boca. ‘
There was also a storm over the three-game ban and a £ 100,000 fine that the Football Association handed him after he used the word ‘negrito’ in a ‘racist’ Instagram post.
In fact, the FA committee agreed that there were no offensive intentions in the post, but this apparent confusion of cultures only reinforced the feeling that Cavani was uncomfortable in England.
Cavani was banned for three games and fined £ 100,000 by the FA for using the word ‘negrito’ in an Instagram post that responded to a friend
There had certainly been enough doubts on the field when Cavani got a free contract in early October, just days after United was beaten 6-1 by Tottenham.
It seemed such a disappointing addition after a summer where he tried and failed to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, and was also completely out of sync with Solskjaer’s desire to regenerate United into a young player force.
All signals pointed to another high-profile United flop like Falcao or Angel Di Maria. Cavani’s checkered injury record, which was the inevitable result of an aging body, a substantial pay package for a backup forward and little other interest in him after his departure from Paris Saint-Germain.
Cavani’s injury was a concern when he went to United for free last October
Cavani announced himself with two goals in a poignant comeback win over Southampton
It also took a while for Cavani to be fit enough for Solskjaer to consider playing him. His first start came in the home game with Istanbul Basaksehir more than six weeks after his arrival.
But really since the Uruguayan came off the bench at half-time to score twice in a thrilling 2-0 comeback behind Southampton in late November, United knew he was still a class act.
There have been occasional injuries, but Cavani’s fitness has been pretty good and when he’s on the field, he’s getting more profitable.
As Solskjaer said, ‘A striker should play as a striker, run the channels, be a focal point, create opportunities for others, score goals, miss a few chances too, but that’s what he really needs to do.
“If you get three or four chances every game, you score one, two or three goals.”
The Uruguayan takes home against Tottenham in United’s recent 3-1 win in North London
He scored a stylish volley in United’s Europa League quarter-finals victory over Granada
That all-round center-forward game was a lot to see against Roma. Finishing the first time in the top corner for his first goal, which tied the game to 2-2, was fantastic. His second might have been a tap-in, but Cavani knew exactly where to go.
His perfectly weighted through pass for Fernandes to open the score demonstrated the quality of his connection work and the ball from outside the shoe to Mason Greenwood for the sixth was just showing off.
But his influence extends beyond the field as well, with Solskjaer recently speaking of Cavani’s positivity around the camp and its effect on the club’s younger forwards.
Even if United were to break the bank for someone like Erling Haaland or Harry Kane in the summer, Cavani would still be fantastic to have at the club.
He can expect Solskjaer to have a lot of words in his ear between now and the end of a season. United’s hopes will end with the end of the Europa League in Gdansk. “You’d like Manchester in the summer, Edi … frankly.”
But Cavani’s all-round performance in the win over Roma has been United’s best so far