Rangnick says Edinson Cavani ‘definitely’ staying at Manchester United

Rangnick says Edinson Cavani ‘definitely’ staying at Manchester United

Ralf Rangnick has told Edinson Cavani that he “desperately” wants the striker to stay at Manchester United and will not allow him to leave in January despite reported interest from Barcelona.

Cavani’s future is in doubt after Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing in the summer. The Portuguese is first-choice striker and United’s top scorer with 14 goals, his most recent coming in Thursday’s 3-1 win over Burnley.

Cavani’s season has also been hampered by injury and having to quarantine for Covid. The 34-year-old has made 10 appearances, with the Uruguayan’s start against Burnley a first in the league since 30 October.

Rangnick said: “We had a few conversations in the last couple of weeks – probably the player with whom I have spoken most. I told him from the first day that he is a highly important player. He is probably the only one who can play as a striker back to goal and face to goal.

“His professionalism, his work ethic is amazing and I told him that I desperately want him to stay until the end of the season. He also knows how highly I rate him and respect him, and that was also the reason why I played him from the beginning together with Cristiano [against Burnley].

“He knows that I will definitely not let him go. I would rather have another Edi on top of that but for me it’s clear that Edi has to stay. With regard to the other players [leaving in the transfer window], yes, our squad is maybe a bit big with regards to numbers but we still have Covid, we have three competitions.”

Rangnick wants Donny van de Beek to remain despite the Dutchman making only two league starts in 2021. “He’s got a top mentality, works hard in every training session,” the interim manager said. “A team player through and through and there will be games where he will get his chance. I also had a longer conversation with him about that and of course it’s difficult for him right now because he also wants to play for the national team. But I still believe that we should keep him, definitely until the end of this season.”

United host Wolves on Monday night and Rangnick is confident Ronaldo can start a third game in eight days. “I didn’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be able to play another game,” he said.