Edinson Cavani: Possibly the Best Signing of 2020-21

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On May 10th, 2021, Edinson Cavani put pen to paper on a one-year extension with Manchester United. Since arriving at Old Trafford, the 34-year-old has shown that he’s still capable of performing at the top level both domestically and in Europe, and that has served the Red Devils well throughout the 2020-21 season.

Therefore, it’s not outlandish to say that the Uruguayan has truly been the Premier League signing of the season. But how does he compare to other big money big time recruits? Well, let’s delve into the numbers.

The Red Devils Found Value for Money in the Uruguayan? 

Analysing the signing of the season comes down to two factors: on-field contributions and price. Regarding Cavani, the attacker moved to Old Trafford on a free at the expiration of his deal with Paris Saint-Germain. Although there was no transfer fee involved, the 34-year-old earns a reported £200,000 a week, making him one of the club’s top earners.

However, his performances warrant a lofty salary.

Cavani has spearheaded the Red Devils’ journey to the Europa League final, being involved in seven goals in the two-legged semi-final against AS Roma. Now, as of May 17th, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are 4/5 in Europa League winner odds according to Paddy Power, to defeat Villarreal in the final. 

While injuries have limited Cavani’s first-team opportunities in general, he’s started three of the four Europa League matches in which he’s been in the squad. The Uruguayan’s form has also propelled United to an improved Premier League finish. In his first 24 top-flight appearances in England, he’s scored nine goals and assisted on an additional two. On average, the Uruguayan averages a goal every 0.38 matches, which is more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sadio Mane, who shared the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah in 2018-19.

A Mixed Season for New Offensive Recruits? 

From an offensive standpoint, there are plenty of contenders to the crown for the signing of the season. Diogo Jota, for example, registered an average of 0.47 goals per game after his first 17 Premier League matches with Liverpool. In that time, the Portugal international scored eight goals on either side of recovering from a knee injury. Unlike Cavani, however, Jota didn’t come cheap, with the Reds paying Wolves £41 million for the attacker.

The other big-money move ahead of the 2020-21 campaign saw Timo Werner join Chelsea for around £48 million. The German has struggled to find his feet in the Premier League, recording just six goals in his first 33 top-flight matches in England, as per Transfermarkt. Werner’s teammate, Kai Havertz, also hasn’t reached the levels expected of a £72-million signing, finding the net on just four occasions in his opening 26 Premier League games. 

Outperforming Younger Prospects? 

At 34 years of age, Cavani has experienced everything that top-level professional football has to offer. Despite being new to the Premier League, the Uruguayan has shown that he isn’t past his prime, and he still has plenty left to offer. In fact, as he becomes more accustomed to the league, he’ll likely get better, which makes Manchester United’s decision to sign him on a free even cannier. His price, combined with his on-field contributions, make it tricky to overlook him as the offensive signing of the season. 

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