There’s nothing quite like a big summer signing to appease a disgruntled group of football supporters and right now Manchester United fans appear more aggrieved than any.
In the long run, another blockbuster signing may do little to divert attention away from the club’s owners – the much-maligned Glazer family, whose £790m leveraged takeover of the club has been a source of frustration for United fans since 2005.
It is estimated the takeover has cost Manchester United at least £1billion in the intervening 16 years and fan anger reached its peak on Sunday when a group of supporters forced the postponement of the club’s meeting with Liverpool by storming the Old Trafford pitch in protest.
But as Alex Ferguson repeatedly pointed out in his latter years of managing the club, the debt the Glazers saddled Manchester United with has never stopped the club from competing at the top end of the transfer market.
With veteran striker Edinson Cavani looking likely to leave United after just one very impressive season, the club are likely to be in the market for a new, long-term focal point in their attack.
Cavani has proven to be a shrewd signing and his presence this season has highlighted the difference experience can make in the final third, with United having previously been too reliant on the likes of 23-year-old Marcus Rashford and 19-year-old Mason Greenwood.
Cavani has chipped in with 12 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions so far this season while his impact off the bench has at times been reminiscent of the playing days of his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
OGS Steering United in Right Direction
With the club looking set for a second-place finish in the Premier League – an improvement on last season – and being clear favourites to win the Europa League, there’s no doubt progress has been made this term and Cavani has been pivotal to that.
“It’s a shame he’s not four or five years younger, but he’s still doing a job, he still leads the line well,” former United forward Teddy Sheringham told Bookmakers.co.uk.
“He’s a fantastic player and has been over the years and he’s showing touches of absolute sheer class and sometimes that’s the difference between putting the ball in the back of the net and getting your team three points or settling for a draw. These players with that quality make a difference.”
Cavani is thought to be considering a return to South America this summer, with Boca Juniors heavily linked with the Uruguay legend, who is said to be willing to leave behind a short but positive impression on the United faithful.
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If, as is expected at this stage, Cavani walks away from his Old Trafford adventure, who should United turn to as a long-term answer to lead their line?
“You’re talking about Harry Kane,” said Sheringham.
“He is the top number nine in the world for me. People talk about [Erling] Haaland who is a very good youngster coming through with unbelievable promise, but Harry Kane is the best number nine in the world.
“From a Manchester United point of view, if you can get him, then go get him. Tottenham supporters won’t want to hear that, but they’ve heard it for the last three years – Harry Kane is a big money player, he’s the best and everybody wants him.”
Kane Transfer Odds
Indeed, few would turn down the opportunity to have Kane in their side, but bookmakers side with Manchester City as the favourites for Kane’s signature should Tottenham decide to sell this summer.
The champions-elect are currently 3/1 with Betfair to sign Kane this summer, with United given just a 6/1 chance. However, Pep Guardiola has a very particular set of requirements for his strikers and it is not yet known if he sees Kane as an ideal fit for his well-oiled machine.
United seems the more natural fit and with the club having finally turned a corner under Solskjaer perhaps Kane can help them progress another level.
“He’s doing alright,” said Sheringham of his old team-mate Solskjaer. “He’s got Manchester United closer to where they should be, in and around the top four.
“They’re still way off Manchester City and challenging for the league, that’s the next step, but when you see improvement in a football team that’s all you can ask for.
“He’s definitely improved the team since last season, they’re consistent now, they’ve got a chance of winning the Europa League which would be a huge boost.
“Ole has brought that stability now that he’s been there a couple of years, he’s got his feet under the table and people are starting to realise what his understanding of football is.”
It might not be what the fans want to hear at this moment in time, but signing Kane ahead of their nearest rivals City this summer could provide United’s owners with some much-needed respite in the face of adversity, while for the manager and supporters it would no doubt strengthen the team.