Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still hopes to convince Edinson Cavani to stay at Manchester United after watching the striker’s matchwinning display against Tottenham.
The Red Devils came from a goal down to win 3-1 in north London on Sunday and close the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City to 11 points, with a game in hand.
Cavani saw a first-half goal disallowed following a controversial VAR review, with Scott McTominay penalised for catching Son Heung-min in the face with a flailing hand in the build-up.
Son promptly put Spurs ahead five minutes later, but United stretched their unbeaten Premier League away run to 23 games thanks to a superb second-half showing, Cavani heading in Mason Greenwood’s cross after earlier giving Fred the chance to equalise, with substitute Greenwood capping the win in the final moments.
Cavani only signed for United last year after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, but the experienced striker has not had a comfortable first year in England, with the coronavirus pandemic limiting his ability to see friends and family and with a racism row sparked by a social media post leading to a three-game ban in January.
The player’s father has previous indicated Cavani wants to return to South America for next season, with a move to Boca Juniors touted as his preferred destination, but Solskjaer has not given up on extending his contract by another year.
“Edi showed why he’s a number nine,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “We had a little meeting on this with the boys. With his movement, we need to use him correctly.
“He knows my feelings; I know his feelings. He’s not made up his mind yet. I understand that it’s been a difficult year for everyone, but for a new lad who doesn’t speak English, not to feel the English culture, to go see people, have friends around… it’s in the back of your head if this is what you want, you know you can’t have your family over.
“Fingers crossed, but if he decides that it’s just this season, then we’ve been very, very fortunate to have him here.”
CLINICAL AND COMMITTED
Cavani has now scored seven times in the league this season, with five of those being headers – a tally bettered only by Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin on six.
He is behind only Marcus Rashford (10) and Bruno Fernandes (16) when it comes to league goals for United in this campaign, but Cavani boasts by far the best shot conversion rate of the trio (25 per cent).
Cavani’s rate of 0.79 goals per 90 minutes is the fourth-highest in the league this season and the best among players to play at least 1,000 minutes in the competition.
Cavani scored in comeback wins away at Everton, Southampton and Fulham before leading United’s fightback against Spurs. The Uruguay star’s efforts have helped Solskjaer’s men recover 28 points from losing positions this season; in Premier League history, only Newcastle United in 2001-02 (34) and the Red Devils themselves in 2012-13 (29) have earned more points that way.