So, what is it about then?
The report reveals that he would like to return to South America amid links with a move to Boca Juniors. Indeed, Cavani is also understood to have made clear through talks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward that it is not because of finance.
Rather, the impact of the lockdowns in England following the COVID-19 pandemic are believed to have had a negative effect on Cavani’s enjoyment on these shores since moving from Paris in October 2020, given he cannot see much of his family.
Is this a blow?
One of the elite goalscorers in the game, only Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more times than the 34-year-old in Europe’s top five leagues since he made his Palermo debut in 2007.
Already proving himself in the Premier League despite his advancing years, he’s scored seven times in eleven starts and FBREF data notes how he boasts the best goals per shot ratio of all of United’s strikers this season (0.24).
While clearly not a long-term option given his age, there have been few more prolific marksmen in the game than Cavani since his emergence and that kind of expertise will surely cost a lot of money to replace.
What must the club do now?
With The Athletic also recently suggesting that United were wary of being dragged into another transfer saga following last summer’s strong links with a move for Jadon Sancho, Woodward and the new team of technical Darren Fletcher and John Murtough must decide on their targets quickly.
Considering the public dash around Europe Erling Haaland’s representatives made is thought to have put United off, moving on from him as quickly as possible would be wise. Respecting Cavani’s wishes to return home only seems the right thing to do while decision-makers look to replace him as efficiently as they can.
It certainly won’t be easy in a post-pandemic market but Fletcher and Murtagh have to learn from the club’s mistakes in the past. Cavani himself was brought in too late to make much of an impact in the early part of the season, while United have also desperately signed the likes of Radamel Falcao and Alexis Sanchez at what seemed like the final hour in hugely unsuccessful moves.
A clear and concise strategy to replace Cavani must be drawn up right away. As logical as that sounds, the signings of the past suggest United haven’t always thought like that.