EXCLUSIVE | By Manchester correspondent Alex Stevens
Manchester United are set to meet representatives of Edinson Cavani as they step up plans to reinforce their forward line, Football Insider sources understand.
United have a concrete interest in signing the Paris-Saint Germain striker this summer.
Manager Louis van Gaal wants to recruit a proven spearhead at the peak of his career and Cavani has emerged as one of their leading targets. United are also interested in Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke.
Cavani, 28, finished the season with a flurry of goals to leapfrog Zlatan Ibrahimovic and end as PSG’s top scorer with 31 goals, including 18 in Ligue 1.
The Uruguay international is believed to be open to leaving the French champions two years after his £53million move from Napoli.
However, he has three years remaining on his contract and PSG are likely to be reluctant to sell him given his recent form and that Ibrahimovic is reaching the end of his career.
United would be prepared to pay a £30m-plus fee to land Cavani, but they face strong competition from Juventus, who are closely monitoring his situation despite completing the £23m signing of Paulo Dybala last month.
Of the club’s three senior strikers from last season, Chelsea target Radamel Falcao has returned to Monaco following a disappointing season-long loan and United will listen to offers for Robin van Persie, who has admitted he could leave this summer. Only Wayne Rooney is a certainty to still be at Old Trafford at the start of next season.
PSG manager Laurent Blanc has admitted that Cavani’s frequent use on the flanks is a problem for the player, and the former Napoli man has spoken of his dissatisfaction with the role.
Van Gaal wants a dynamic front man to lead the United line next season as doubts grow over the future of Van Persie, who is out of contract in 2016 and has not opened talks with the club about an extension. As revealed by Football Insider, Van Persie is willing to leave Old Trafford this summer but only if he receives a pay-off of around £2m from United.
The Premier League giants are ready to spend up to £200m to overhaul their squad in the summer, and have already clinched the signing of Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven.