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Cavani looks like a sticking plaster – Man Utd must pray he matches reputation

Edinson Cavani has spent more time on a ballet mat than a football field in the past few months.

But there is no tip-toeing around the fact that Manchester United's decision to sign him has to be a success for all those involved in the deal.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs someone to add gravitas and class to his floundering team, executive vice chairman Ed Woodward needs to see a transfer he sanctioned work to repair his damaged reputation – and Cavani himself needs to prove that he hasn't just joined the English giants to boost his bank balance in the twilight of his career.

You've got to admire United's brass neck, if nothing else.

Cavani is now 33 and left Paris Saint Germain under a cloud in June. He fell out with Neymar after accusing the Brazilian superstar of being selfish. His romance with the French champions turned so sour he chose not to extend his contract to play in the latter stages of the Champions League in August.

Instead, Cavani turned to ballet as a way of keeping himself fit after being asked to help promote the form of dance back in his homeland of Uruguay.

"Soccer and dance are more similar than the world imagines," he said, "when the performance begins, both football and dance require maximum concentration."

Cavani has had a stellar career, but his focus and 'concentration' will be tested like never before once he pulls on that famous red shirt when the domestic season resumes after the international break.

He might have scored more than 300 goals for both club and country and won the Golden Boot in Serie A and Ligue 1, but nowhere has the ability to shred a reputation quite like Old Trafford. Just ask Cavani's fellow South Americans Radamel Falcao and Alexis Sanchez.

What might have not dawned on Cavani yet is the fact that United have unwittingly piled even more pressure on him to succeed, due to the bizarre circumstances surrounding his arrival in Manchester.

Cavani has not played a game since March and is the third forward from the last four United have signed to be over the age of 30. He makes Odion Ighalo look like a spring chicken.

He appears to be an expensive sticking plaster, a stop-gap signing who betrays the notion being peddled from inside United that the club have overseen a cultural reboot and that youth is the future.

United will point to his storied career and impressive statistics. They will claim his experience will be invaluable to those around him and there is no doubt it would be wonderful to see one of the greatest strikers of his generation sprinkle some stardust on English football.

But there is no escaping the fact that if Cavani remains such a lethal marksman, why didn't United sign him when his contract expired in June, instead of waiting to do so with a few hours of the transfer window remaining?

Cavani could have been signed in January, when he made it clear he wanted out of PSG and his name was being hawked around Europe.

Instead, someone who has gone 30 weeks without a game now has less than two of them to get himself prepared for a return to action with a side in freefall.

All we can do is wish the bloke luck.

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