Edinson Cavani was the headline signing at Manchester United on Deadline Day as the club also completed deals for Alex Telles, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo.
After only previously signing Donny van de Beek during the summer transfer window, United completed three purchases in the 24 hours that followed their 6-1 mauling at home to Tottenham even though Jadon Sancho, who United have chased all summer, remained at Dortmund and an enquiry to Watford for winger Ismaila Sarr didn’t progress.
Instead United recruited left-back Alex Telles for a fee of £15.4m, brought in 18-year-old Pellistri and signed Atlanta winger Amad Diallo, in a deal that could be worth up to £37.2m. The 18-year-old, who has only played 24 minutes in Serie A, will join the club in January.
33-year-old Cavani has signed a one-year contract with the option of a further 12 months and is expected to wear the club’s iconic number seven shirt.
“Clearly Edinson Cavani has the work-ethic, the hunger to be a success at Manchester United,” reported Sky Sports News’ James Cooper. “He’s been impressed by the project he’s been offered by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and in return Solskjaer has been impressed by Cavani.
“Solskjaer has said he will score goals. He won’t sit on the bench and he is someone who will deliver something they haven’t got with their other striking options.
“United are confident Cavani’s signing could have a similar effect to that of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who arrived in the summer of 2016 at the age of 34.
“They believe Cavani’s experience and credentials would encourage the development of Mason Greenwood while also providing support for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, as well as adding a different attacking component for Solskjaer.”
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But the signing of Cavani has already faced scepticism, with Sky Sports’ Paul Merson among those questioning the deal.
“You’ve got to have pace as Man United like to counter-attack with the pace of Anthony Martial, Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Dan James when he’s in the team,” said Merson. “Now, all of a sudden Cavani comes in. He’ll hold the ball up, but for me it’s a panic. I hope I’m wrong but it’s not a future signing and it’s not one that tells me they’re moving forward.
“It’s not one that tells me that in three or four years they’re going to catch up with Liverpool and Man City. This is not going to catch those two clubs up now.”
Smalling departs for Roma
But it wasn’t one-way traffic at Old Trafford on Deadline Day, with Chris Smalling the club’s highest-profile departure.
The defender has departed for Roma in an £18m deal.
Smalling, who has signed a three-year deal at Roma with the option of an additional year, had been pushing for a move back to Rome throughout the summer, where he impressed last year on a season-long loan.
But should United have let him depart?
“I’ve watched Bailly and Lindelof,” commented Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp. “Smalling’s gone to Italy and been successful there – I’m thinking he’s better than what they’ve got.”
Analysis: The deal that didn’t happen – what now for Sancho?
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:
“This window has been dominated by the Jadon Sancho saga. It’s been suggested United will return for him next summer, but I would be surprised if Jadon Sancho ever played for Manchester United. If United don’t sign Sancho now, they may never sign him.
“If you speak to people close to Jadon Sancho, after what he’s been through this summer with regards to Manchester United, would he want to go through all of this again? There will be lots of other clubs trying to sign him next summer.”
Analysis: A disappointing window for Man Utd
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:
“I think overall you have to say, if you’re being brutally honest, it’s been a disappointing window for Manchester Untied. The big, big plus was signing Donny Van De Beek for £35m, a fantastic young player and they got him at a good price. But apart from that, the whole window has been dominated by the Jadon Sancho saga.
“United think there’s a possibility they may revisit signing Jadon Sancho next summer, I’d be surprised if he ever plays for Manchester United.
“If you speak to people close to Jadon Sancho after what he’s been through this summer regarding Manchester United, would he want to go through this again next summer? I think there will be lots of other clubs trying to sign him next summer.
“As far as Edinson Cavani is concerned, I cannot believe it was part of Manchester United’s strategy to sign him 48 hours or before the window closed and to do the deal a few hours before the window closed. We’re talking about somebody who was a great player, no doubt about that, but he’s had a lot of injuries over the lsat few years, he’s played very few games for PSG. He hasn’t played for seven months, he scored seven times last season, they sold Romelu Lukaku 15 months gao, and 15 months later they’re replacing him with a 33-year-old free agent with his injury record, paying him something between £200-250k a week.
“Compare the goalscoring records. Lukaku left Manchester United last season, he scored 38 times for Inter Milan, Cavani has scored seven times for PSG.
“Telles is a very good player, but he’s played once for Brazil. A friendly against Panama. The final point I would make is, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, the next signing needs to be a Director of Football. The best man for the job? Edwin Van Der Sar at Ajax.”
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