Edinson Cavani has been compared to Chelsea flop Gonzalo Higuain as Manchester United get set to announce the Uruguayan’s move to Old Trafford. Free agent Cavani is set to become United’s second signing of the summer before tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline.
The Uruguayan, 33, is expected to sign a two-year deal that could pay him around £200,000 a week with his deal at Paris Saint-Germain having ran out in June.
He left PSG having become the Ligue 1 champions’ all-time record goalscorer with 200 goals in 301 games, having also notched 50 goals in 116 games for his country.
And he will give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer another option up top to rival Anthony Martial and the on-loan Odion Ighalo, who will leave in January.
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A deal is expected to be completed and announced imminently with the player in Manchester to complete a medical and put pen to paper.
But Dutch coach Rene Meulensteen, who worked under Sir Alex Ferguson at United, fears Cavani will struggle at United as Higuain did at Chelsea.
The Argentine joined Chelsea on loan under Maurizio Sarri and like Cavani, arrived as one of the continent’s greatest frontmen across the past decade.
But Higuain, now playing for MLS outfit Inter Miami, managed just five goals in 18 games after his January arrival and often struggled to make an impact in matches.
And Meulensteen fears fellow South American Cavani will suffer a similar fate in Manchester.
“Obviously the Sancho deal doesn’t look like it’s happening anyway but I don’t think they need to spend that amount of money in that position,” he told talkSPORT.
“They’re still vulnerable at the back no matter what combination they come up with, it hasn’t worked for them.
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“Obviously they’re going to bring [Alex] Telles in, another left-back, from a league that you can’t compare with the Premier League, so he’ll need some time to bed in. He’s 27, which is an age where you expect players to hit the ground running.
“Cavani is 33, I’m not saying he’s not a proven goalscorer and it cannot work, but it sounds a little similar to when Higuain went to Chelsea.
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“The Premier League is a different kettle of fish so I’m a little bit cautious to bring in a 33-year-old. Again, how will that shape United up front? As the style will change with an out-and-out striker.”
United are still reeling from Sunday’s 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham, managed by Solskjaer’s predecessor Jose Mourinho.
The Red Devils were all over the place defensively and Meulensteen laid into his former club’s back-line.
“It’s unacceptable for a top team that should be challenging for trophies and the Premier League,” he added.
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“It’s strange, really, as you look at it and see how United came out of lockdown, they did really, really well.
“They were a good side, strong up front and didn’t concede a lot of goals. So you’re thinking they’re moving in the right direction, they got to three semi-finals.
“I think losing those semi-finals, all three of them, has definitely had an impact on the further progress. That’s what this club is about, getting to finals and winning finals.
“I don’t know what impact it had but something strange has happened for this team to concede so many goals.”
United return to action after the international break when they travel to Newcastle on Saturday 17 October (3pm kick-off).
Cavani could then face his former club as United kick off their Champions League group stage campaign away at PSG the following Tuesday.
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