Edinson Cavani has finally become a Manchester United player, but the deal could have come to fruition many years earlier.
Cavani arrived at Old Trafford on transfer deadline day after leaving Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer and will bolster an attack boasting Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
While Cavani, 33, has been captured in the latter stages of his career on a free transfer, United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been a long-term admirer of the Uruguay international.
He first floated the idea of signing Cavani in the 2013/14 season, according to The Athletic.
Sir Alex Ferguson had just retired as Manchester United manager and had been replaced by David Moyes.
Cavani had left Napoli for Paris Saint-Germain and United were interested in landing him.
Woodward, new to his role, encouraged Ferguson’s replacement Moyes to consider signing Cavani.
Despite United generally having a policy of not spending big money on any player aged 26 or over due to a concern over the lack of resale value, they had made exceptions for Dimitar Berbatov and Robin van Persie.
There was a sense Cavani was worth treating as a special case, too, and Moyes was initially keen on the idea.
He told Woodward that Cavani would score ‘goals for fun’ and United chiefs met with his agent Claudio Anelluci.
But Moyes cooled on the idea after going to watch the Uruguayan three times in France.
Despite Moyes going off the idea, United continued to pursue Cavani after he was sacked.
Woodward spoke to PSG when Giggs was caretaker manager as he wanted to add more energy to the United attack and he felt United should have superstars in their team – including players who could be contenders for the Ballon d’Or.
Now, in 2020, it’s unlikely a 33-year-old Cavani would be a contender for that prize but he is a Manchester United player.