Ralf Rangnick has revealed that Edinson Cavani promised to stay at Manchester United until the end of the season amid growing Barcelona links.
During an interview in the build-up to the Red Devils’ FA Cup third-round showdown against Aston Villa, the interim boss clarified the Uruguayan’s future at Old Trafford.
“I told him that if it was up to me, I would want him to stay,” Rangnick said, as relayed by ESPN.
“I had a conversation with him [on Thursday]. He came into my office and we spoke for almost half an hour and he told me he will definitely stay and would want to stay until the end of the season.
“Not only because I told him that he should stay or has to stay, he did it on his own behalf and he told me that I can rely on him to stay until the end of the season and give his very best and be a role model for the young players.
“If he should play from the start, he’s available and he’s happy to play.
“Even if he’s not playing, he will be trying to be the best possible role model for the other players, and for me, this is good news.”
Cavani experienced mixed fortunes under former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, leading to speculation about the 34-year-old’s desire to sever ties with Man United.
However, Rangnick’s arrival at the helm in November has performed a U-turn on the veteran striker’s situation, throwing him a lifeline in Manchester.
Since the German tactician’s takeover, the all-time Paris Saint-Germain top scorer has clawed his way back into the Red Devils’ starting line-up following a nightmarish start to the season under Solskjaer.
After salvaging a point for United at Newcastle United in the penultimate round of the 2021 Premier League fixtures, the ex-Napoli star has been handed back-to-back league starts for the first time this season.
Cavani’s virtues critical to Rangnick’s tactics
Rangnick’s preferred 4-2-2-2 system requires the presence of an out-and-out striker, able to play with their backs turned to the opposition’s goal, which suits Cavani perfectly.
In addition to his scoring prowess, the Uruguay international is a genuine target man, with his aerial strength and physical attributes off the charts in Man United’s attacking department.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Rangnick wants to keep hold of Cavani going into the second half of the season, especially given the Red Devils’ inability to land a new top-class striker in January.
United remain firmly in the race to sign Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Braut Haaland.
But any attempt to lure the Norwegian away from the Bundesliga will likely have to wait until the summer.
Barcelona have no other option but to consider other targets
Rangnick’s statement comes as a massive transfer blow for Barcelona, who hoped to bring Cavani in as a short-term replacement for Sergio Aguero.
Considering the Catalans’ well-documented financial turmoil, they are in the market for low-cost signings, having identified the Red Devils star as a perfect cost-effective solution.
Barca desperately need of a new top-class striker to address their scoring woes, particularly in the wake of a growing injury list at Camp Nou.
But as things stand right now, Barcelona will have to look elsewhere to add to their firepower this winter.
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