Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been delighted by Edinson Cavani’s impact at Manchester United and believes the veteran striker still has years left at the top.
Concerns over the shrewdness of signing a 33-year-old on deadline day after months without a club have been extinguished during the Uruguay international’s promising start to life at the 20-time league champions.
Cavani has made an impact on and off the pitch for United, scoring four goals in 13 appearances since signing a season-long deal with the option of another year.
It seems a matter of when rather than if the Red Devils trigger that extension clause – like they have done with so many other contracts in recent times – and Solskjaer believes Cavani can shine for a few seasons yet.
🇺🇾🔴 𝗠𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 5, 2020
Asked if he would like to keep Cavani, who turns 34 in February, for a further season and whether he thought he would, the United boss said: “At the moment it looks like he’s got a few years left in him so I wouldn’t say anything else.
“He has made a great impact when he’s come here, so let’s focus on improving everyone as well. But he’s got a few years left in him.”
Cavani is pushing for just his second Premier League start when Wolves visit Old Trafford on Tuesday, fresh from providing an assist in an immediate impact off the bench in the 2-2 Boxing Day draw at Leicester.
“He is definitely a starter,” Solskjaer said. “You don’t classify a player of that quality as anything else.
“We have got plenty of starters, more than 11 starters and that’s the thing when you are at Man United. You should believe, trust in yourself.
“I trust him, I trust my players and we’ve got good competition for places. He’ll probably start more games than he will not start.”
While there is more to come, Cavani already looks comfortable in the fabled number seven shirt worn at United by the likes of George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“That was the first thing he asked me when I spoke to him, if he could wear the number seven,” Solskjaer said.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 28, 2020
“Obviously we talk about the history of the shirt. When you think of the history of his career and the experience he’s had, his personality from the chat I had with him and when I watched him before, I wasn’t in doubt that he could handle that number seven shirt.
“He is so meticulous, professional – his habits, everything about him, shows why he’s had a career he’s had.
“Even at the age he is now, he is one of the fittest players we’ve got.”
Cavani could play a key role in United ending a topsy-turvy 2020 on a high when Wolves visit Old Trafford, where they beat rivals Leeds 6-2 to secure just their second home league win of the season.
“When the last game you played at Old Trafford you scored six goals, I am sure the boys looked forward to it,” Solskjaer said,
“That performance gave us confidence and also a little gauge on how fit we are because we matched them fitness wise.
“We know that we have loads of games in a short space of time but Wolverhampton have got an even shorter turnaround but we had a midweek game.”
Aaron Wan-Bissaka could be back to face Wolves but Victor Lindelof is a doubt to feature in a defence that captain Harry Maguire is sure to start in.
The England centre-back is a key part of the United backline and has improved greatly since a difficult start to the season that came under the cloud of his high-profile Greek court case.
“Harry is a strong character and a very good player,” Solskjaer said of Maguire.
“He has led from the back, if you put it that way. He has been putting himself forward. He always wants to play. He never wants a rest.
“He’s really improved throughout the season, with the team of course, but we can see more and more maturity and more leadership from Harry every game.”