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Manchester United to replace Robin van Persie with Paris Saint-Germain star?

As the season slowly approaches its end, and the summer transfer window creeping up, transfer rumours have begun to appear. The Mirror have recently reported that Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal is prepared to part ways with star striker Robin van Persie in the summer.

The 31 year-old striker’s contract is set to expire in 2016, but it is said that the club would be willing to listen to offers in the summer. The Dutchman is currently suffering from an ankle injury, and is likely to miss Sunday’s Manchester derby. However, without Van Persie United have undergone an impressive string of results in recent games, resulting in the club now sitting third in the league. This is seen as one of the reasons United are prepared to let Van Persie go.

When he was signed from Arsenal for a fee of £24 million, a lot was asked of the long-term effects of the deal, as Van Persie was already 29 at that point. All doubt was cast aside when Van Persie went on to carry United to their twentieth league title, scoring 26 league goals and was the league’s top scorer. His next season, under David Moyes, was plagued with injuries, but he still managed to score 12 goals in 21 league games.

This season, however, things have slightly changed. Van Persie has managed 10 goals already this season, but his form throughout the season has been inconsistent at best. This has led to the belief that United are prepared to cut their losses on the Dutchman and sell him in the summer.

It was also stated that the man Van Gaal has identified as a potential replacement is Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan is unhappy at being played out of position by Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc, something he has recently admitted in an interview, quoted by the Daily Mail. In the same interview he also denied rumours of a rift with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who he is being played out of position for, but said that “one cannot be friends with everyone.” He has also refused to rule out a summer move, saying “anything can happen in football.”

This interview came after PSG’s win against Olympique Marseille, where Cavani was taken off after 60 minutes on the pitch. As he came off the pitch he was seen having a heated exchange with Blanc, further strengthening rumours of a summer move.

There are strong arguments for the possibility of Van Persie and Cavani both leaving their respective clubs this summer. However, there is yet to be concrete evidence that any move is happening this summer. There is no indication that Van Gaal is unwilling to let Van Persie see out his current contract, and Cavani has stated that, despite everything, he is happy to stay in Paris.

Even from a tactical standpoint, signing Cavani does not seem like a good idea. The Uruguayan is currently being forced to play on the right-wing of a 4-3-3 formation to accommodate Ibrahimovic, the same formation United are currently using. With club captain Wayne Rooney seemingly a fixture in the United starting eleven, Cavani would again have to be played out of position, or worse still, not played at all.

To play as a striker in a 4-3-3, one has to be a team player, helping his teammates as much as they help him. This means this is a role that suits Rooney, and not Cavani. Earlier in the season, Cavani’s former Napoli teammate Lorenzo Insigne was asked about new signing Gonzalo Higuain, and he compared him to Cavani saying:

“Cavani always wants to score goals but Higuain is different. Higuain plays more for the team, he’s a great champion and comes from a great club.”

There is also the issue of Cavani’s age. He is currently 28, meaning he is just one year younger than Rooney and also one year younger than Van Persie when he signed. This means that signing Cavani will present the same long-term issues that came with the signing of Van Persie.

In the end, nothing is yet to be confirmed. Van Persie might stay at United and see out his contract, or even sign a new one, in turn negating the need of signing Cavani. And although Cavani is no doubt an exciting player to be linked with the club, signing him might just more issues than it fixes.

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