The Edinson Cavani transfer trick Manchester United can repeat in summer window

  Hakan Calhanoglu of AC Milan.  (Image: Getty) Cavani arrived as a free agent last season and has gone onto to have an excellent season at ...


Hakan Calhanoglu of AC Milan.
Cavani arrived as a free agent last season and has gone onto to have an excellent season at Old Trafford

Having already secured Champions League football for next season, the picture in terms of transfer targets is much clearer for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

Often for the top sides fighting for European places, realistic targets can only be determined once a club knows which competition they are going to be competing in, with it being easier to attract better players when playing in the Champions League in comparison to the Europa League. Therefore in this sense, United boast a headstart over their rivals.

Although, these elite talents normally come at a premium, and with United eager to improve a number of key areas this summer, they’ll need to be savvy where they can in order to reserve funds for their most expensive targets, with names such as Erling Haaland and Harry Kane on their shopping list.

One way they could improve the team without making too much of a dent into their transfer kitty is by exploiting the free transfer market, especially considering there are a number of standout stars available at the end of the season.

Edinson Cavani was a free signing last summer, and he’s proven to be a huge hit at Old Trafford, so much so that he signed a one-year extension to his current deal earlier this week.

But which soon-to-be free agents are standing out this summer, and could signing one of the below represent a shrewd piece of business from a United perspective?

United find themselves in a unique position of having two keepers who could be considered as a number ones playing elsewhere, therefore any talk of bringing in another seems odd.

Yet David de Gea continues to be linked with a move away from the club, particularly due to the fact that the Spanish international has lost his place to Dean Henderson as Solskjaer’s first choice.

Gianluigi Donnarumma of AC Milan

This means United might find themselves again short of a second top class keeper in the summer, and no pressure on a number one can often lead to a dip in performance levels. Therefore making a move for the highly-rated Donnarumma could be an excellent solution.

After bursting onto the scene as a teenager, the Milan man has built a reputation as one of Europe’s best keepers. Because of his early start in professional football, it feels as though he’s much older than he is, but at 22, his best days are certainly still ahead of him.

When it comes to goals conceded vs his post-shot expected goals, he’s got the best overperformance all of the keepers from across Europe’s top five leagues this season, yet clearly, his boyhood club haven’t done enough to persuade him to sign an extension to his current deal.

Therefore if De Gea does move on, United could swoop in and land one of the best young keepers across Europe as his replacement without having to pay a transfer fee, once again putting them in a strong position in this area next season.

Memphis Depay

It’s hard to imagine Depay being eager to return to Manchester given the underwhelming nature in which his first stint played out. It’s also likely that some United fans would not be eager to see him return either, for the same reason.

Yet, those unfamiliar with Ligue 1 may not know that the move to Lyon in 2017 reignited his career and he’s gone on to be one of the division’s standout stars across these past four seasons, registering 128 goals or assists in just 176 appearances.

The Dutch international is still just 27 and in the height of his prime, and his form this season reaffirms this, scoring 21 goals and registering a further ten assists so far.

Memphis Depay will be a free agent this summer.

Barcelona have been the front runners to land his signature for several months, yet the fact that no deal has been announced does suggest that he’s open to other opportunities.

His ability to play outside or through the middle would give United a different number of options in attack, and his record indicates he’d almost definitely have a positive impact on their goal difference across the course of a season.

However, there could well be too much water under the bridge for this one to actually play out - even though United do have a buy-back clause.

Hakan Calhanoglu

Still just 27, it’s sure to be a blow if AC Milan were to lose Calhanoglu for nothing this summer. Yet, their loss could certainly be United’s gain.

He’s not a player who is as prolific as Depay, yet he still has the ability to contribute in terms of both scoring and assisting goals, highlighted by his impressive return of 80 contributions across 170 Milan appearances.

Since heading to the Italian capital in 2017, he’s tended to operate in behind a centre-forward or on the left of the attack. As a right-footer, this suits him and perhaps one of his biggest threats is cutting in from outside onto his favoured foot and thereafter threading balls into the penalty area or taking on shots of his own.

There’s no doubt he’d boost United’s firepower in attack, it’s just a case of whether the club would want to meet his demands in terms of wages, with the attacker said to be eyeing up a salary of roughly £80,000 a week.



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item The Edinson Cavani transfer trick Manchester United can repeat in summer window
The Edinson Cavani transfer trick Manchester United can repeat in summer window
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