Opinion

Cavani a desperate signing by Man Utd after Sancho fiasco

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The diminishing power and influence of Premier League giants Manchester United was best illustrated by two embarrassing events in the space of just over 24 hours.

Soon after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men crashed to a humiliating 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford, the club was forced to admit defeat in its pursuit of Borussia Dortmund striker Jadon Sancho.

As if the home debacle was not enough to infuriate the club's massive following around the world, Solskjaer saw United's bungled attempt to sign the young Englishman evaporate before his own eyes.

Instead he had to make do with Uruguayan free agent Edinson Cavani who has not played since his contract with Paris Saint-Germain was up four months ago.

Cavani effectively signed a two-year deal but both parties would be entitled to terminate the contract after one year.

Cavani, who is nicknamed 'El Matador', was one of the world's most feared strikers in his prime.

He scored 50 times for Uruguay in 116 matches from 2008 and no fewer than 138 goals in 200 appearances for PSG over seven seasons but at 33 he is past his peak.

United needed a right-sided attacker and Sancho would have been perfect but Dortmund never budged from their asking price of an equivalent of $196 million.

United's offer of $180 million obviously did not meet Dortmund's demands and they chose to play hard ball with the Germans in the hope they would relent in the last minute.

Well, that never happened and United ended up with egg on their faces after publicly pursuing the young star for four months.

Which is a point that was not lost on former fullback Gary Neville, who is now a well respected pundit.

"The Sancho thing is embarrassing. It's been going on for four months and then they put in a bid that is rejected," Neville said.

"The smart clubs have deals sorted behind the scenes and when the bid goes in it gets accepted, it's done."

Cavani's acquisition which smacks of desperation will not solve United's problems. It can only mask the general ineptitude of the team that continues to show alarming weaknesses in defence and huge inconsistency elsewhere.

The 6-1 rout at the hands of hot Spurs has been a long time coming and questions continue to be asked whether relatively inexperienced Solskjaer is the right man to lead such a big club with massive expectations surrounding it.

The Norwegian manager has promised the team will bounce back.

However bouncing back has been United's problem all along since Solskjaer took over almost two years ago.

United's overall weakness has been masked by the occasional good performance that would have suggested that there was basically nothing wrong with the team that a few tweaks could not fix.

Most critics would agree that the present Manchester United could do with much more than a few tweaks.