Manchester United wanted Edinson Cavani before Falcao

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Manchester United completed the acquisition of Radamel Falcao on deadline day, a notable coup for the club, but it could have been Edinson Cavani rather than the Colombian who was the marquee striker signing to arrive at Old Trafford.

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Cavani interest

The season-long loan agreement will cost Manchester United around £24 million with both wages and a rental fee taken into account, and it completes a significant summer of spending under Louis van Gaal.

How David Moyes must wish he had presided over such a spree. But, as reported by Daniel Taylor in The Guardian, the former Manchester United manager did himself have vast reserves at his disposal, and had hoped to make a transfer of similar size.

Cavani was the player Moyes had identified as he, like Van Gaal, had decided that a centre-forward of greater dynamism was needed, and Ed Woodward was tasked with arranging a meeting with the representatives of the Paris Saint-Germain player.

It is claimed that Woodward left the discussion with Claudio Anelluci, Cavani’s agent, with a “firm impression” that the Uruguay international wanted to move to Old Trafford, while the club were quoted £65 million to make it happen.

Plug pulled

The club were seemingly prepared to pursue Cavani in the January transfer window and Moyes went to watch the 27-year-old play for PSG on three occasions, but was not impressed by any of his performances.

With these Moyes' concerns taken on board, the club understandably pulled the plug on the proposed move for Cavani, instead deciding that midfield and defence were positions where there was a greater need for quality reinforcement.

They, of course, ended that window with Juan Mata joining in a then club record deal although, as has just transpired with Van Gaal, failed to adequately address the areas in which they appeared to be most lacking.

Other concerns

Central midfield, as it was under Moyes, remained a concern for Manchester United all summer, yet despite supposed pursuits of both Arturo Vidal and William Carvalho, Woodward failed to deliver an elite player for this position.

Ander Herrera was signed to offer the creative spark required in the middle of the park, but it is still painfully obvious that a combative link-up player ought to have been added to really allow the Spaniard to flourish.

Daley Blind, of course, was a deadline day arrival, but the Netherlands international is still learning his trade in a central position, and there is no guarantee he will cope with the rigours of the Premier League. He does, though, offer plenty of promise.

There is also the centre of defence, of course. Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, veterans of over 750 appearances for Manchester United, both left the club this summer, yet a recognised centre-back was not signed.

A deal for Marcos Rojo was agreed, although he has yet to gain a visa, but the Argentina international will not allay fears for the Manchester United defence, particularly given he played a swashbuckling left-back role at the World Cup.

Up front was not an area that appeared in need of significant reinforcement but, as Van Gaal said, when a player of Falcao’s calibre becomes available, it is difficult to refuse the opportunity.

There may be deficiencies in other departments, but Manchester United now possess one of the most fearsome attacking units in Europe. But where they will all fit in is anyone’s guess.

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Manchester United
Edinson Cavani
Paris Saint-Germain
Premier League

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