LONDON: Edinson Cavani remains unsure about his Manchester United future beyond the end of the Premier League season, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday. The 34-year-old Uruguay international arrived at Old Trafford as a free agent in October on a deal until the end of the campaign with the option of a further year.
Unlike most extension clauses it has to be agreed by both parties before it can be triggered and there is speculation that Cavani could move to Argentine giants Boca Juniors. Solskjaer said he had discussed the matter with the former Paris Saint-Germain forward.
“I’ve kept in touch with Edi, of course, and we keep an open dialogue,” said Solskjaer. “He’s still unsure what he wants to do next season, which I find fine. It’s not been an easy year either for him or the rest of the world this season, so he still wants time to make his mind up.”
Cavani came off the bench in Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League quarter-final first-leg win at Granada, making his 28th appearance of a season marred by injuries. He also served a three-match Football Association ban for using a racial term in a social media post. The striker apologized for any unintentional offence caused.
Solskjaer believes Cavani, who has scored seven times for United, will finish the season strongly despite the potential distractions. “I’m very sure that we’ll get a good version of Edinson for the rest of the season,” said the Norwegian. “He knows that this is the business end of the season, where we fight for the Europa League trophy and we can see the end line in the league. He’s been so positive in and around the place, he’s been great to have.”
Second-placed United face Tottenham today, eager to atone for a 6-1 hammering earlier in the season in a match in which Anthony Martial was sent off. “I think the players will remember that game with a lot of pain and their pride has been hurt, our professional pride’s been hurt,” said Solskjaer. “The way and the manner we lost is not ourselves and we know that. We gave ourselves a difficult game by having 10 men. Pre-season was short and we weren’t up to the standard required, but we were so poor and I’m pretty, pretty sure we’ll see some players wanting to prove that we’re better than that.”
Elsewhere, Mikel Arteta said striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “totally” committed to Arsenal even though he has been in and out of the team and he played down comparisons with the Mesut Ozil situation. Club captain Aubameyang signed a lucrative new three-year contract last year but has struggled for form this season and was dropped for last month’s north London derby after arriving late. The Gabon international, 31, has scored just nine goals in 25 Premier League appearances this season compared with 22 goals last term.
His situation at the Emirates has been compared with that of Ozil, who under-performed despite being on huge wages before eventually being exiled by Arteta. The Arsenal boss, though, said he did not see the merits of comparing the two cases. “I’m always positive about the future but once you think about things that happen in the past or compare different situations and personalities, I won’t do that,” he said. Asked whether Aubameyang was committed to the Gunners’ cause, Arteta, whose side are languishing in mid-table in the English top-flight, added: “Totally.”
The forward came on as a late second-half substitute in the 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague in the Europa League quarter-final first-leg clash on Thursday, setting up Nicolas Pepe’s goal. Arteta was pleased with Aubameyang’s impact off the bench. “In the Europa League everyone has contributed in different ways, the whole squad has been involved and yesterday’s role for him (was) he was sat on the bench and to make an impact and he made an impact,” said the Spaniard. “He assisted Nico and should have scored a tap-in with his left foot and that’s what the players have to do when they come in.” – AFP