Man Utd may have surprise replacement for Edinson Cavani despite Erling Haaland interest

Ralf Rangnick reviews Newcastle draw

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Manchester United are in an interesting position going into the January transfer window, with some potential departures on the cards. The arrival of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season has upset the apple cart and shaken things up for the mid-season window.

Anthony Martial is the most obvious example of a player seeking the exit door despite the new regime arriving to offer fresh chances.

The French striker has made it clear he wants to leave Old Trafford in January to seek a new challenge. United just need to try and find the right buyer at the right price.

Elsewhere the picture is slightly more blurry. Talk of Jesse Lingard and Donny van de Beek leaving in January has quietened down since Rangnick replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Meanwhile, talk of Edinson Cavani’s apparent unhappiness has been relayed in the media, with a move to Barcelona floated.

Cavani came off the bench to score the equaliser in United’s 1-1 draw against Newcastle on Monday, so would appear to have a role to play under Rangnick.

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But despite earning praise from Rangnick for his performance at St James’ Park, an exit remains a distinct possibility.

According to Sport, Cavani has agreed a deal in principle with Barca for a January move, while he has also received a ‘very important offer’ from Brazilian side Corinthians.

Barcelona have completed the £46.6million signing of Manchester City forward Ferran Torres, but are keen to sign further players to overhaul Xavi’s squad.


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United therefore face the prospect of losing two strikers in the January transfer window, with the club open to the sale of Martial and possibly unable to block a move for Cavani, who is 34 years old and in the final six months of his contract.

If both players were to leave then a replacement would likely be required, which is where things get interesting because there is a new name in the frame.

A fresh report from Calcio Mercato claims that United could move for Paris Saint-Germain forward Mauro Icardi as a replacement for Cavani.

Icardi is reportedly unhappy to be in the shadow of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi and could move on from the French club in January.

Juventus are close to agreeing a deal for the 28-year-old, but the report claims United could hijack the move.

Icardi has scored four goals in 19 appearances for PSG this season, but 11 of those have come from the substitutes’ bench, with Mauricio Pochettino favouring his other stars.

Overall, the Argentine striker has 38 goals and 10 assists in 82 appearances for PSG since joining the club from Inter Milan for an initial fee of £45m in June 2020.

It’s fair to say that Icardi would be a surprise addition for United given his current status at PSG.

Like just about every big club in Europe, United are interested in Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, who is set to come onto the market in the summer due to his £64m release clause.

The Manchester Evening News reported recently that Rangnick is very keen on Haaland, who had already been identified as a priority transfer target by United, who nearly signed him two years ago.

With Cristiano Ronaldo already on the books as the undisputed star striker and an interest in Haaland hard to argue against, given his 76 goals in 75 games for Dortmund, it is hard to see how Icardi would fit into the picture.

Cavani has been a useful addition for United over the past 18 months, chipping in with 19 goals and six assists in 48 appearances, and it seems his exit could cause a headache for the club in January.

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