Ralf Rangnick inherits Solskjaer’s problem as Man Utd January exit fears re-emerge

In pictures: Man Utd v Young Boys

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RALF RANGNICK’S era as Manchester United manager is still premature and the interim boss will still be working out what his best team looks like. The side that lined up against Young Boys in the Champions League on Wednesday was a near complete overhaul from the one that played against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

For the Premier League fixture, Cristiano Ronaldo partnered Marcus Rashford in a new-look 4-2-2-2 formation centred around the ‘Gegenpress’.

Mason Greenwood will be pushing for a starting berth after his strike put United ahead at Old Trafford against the Swiss champions.

But one Red Devils striker whose future looks uncertain is that of Edinson Cavani.

The 34-year-old has a current deal which runs until the end of June and it’s unlikely the Uruguayan will stay in Manchester beyond then.

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Cavani is currently facing a spell on the sidelines with a tendon injury and hasn’t featured for United since their 2-2 draw with Italian side Atalanta in the Champions League at the start of November.

It’s no secret that Ronaldo’s sensational return to Old Trafford didn’t help Cavani. The forward extended his one-year deal at the club earlier this year looking to build on his first good season playing in England which saw him score ten times in the Premier League.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred formation for the most part featured one striker and that ultimately was always going to be Ronaldo.

Solskjaer did make the switch to a front two for United’s trip to Tottenham in October – the last time Cavani featured in the Premier League – but such a move was quickly abandoned just a few games later.

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While Rangnick choosing to play with two strikers would suit Cavani in the sense that there is more chance of him playing, whether he could live up to the demands of the Gegenpress at 34 is unlikely. Cavani has been a world-class talent over his career, but after all, he’s no Ronaldo.

Injuries have got in the way for Cavani and with the January window set to open in a matter of weeks, looking for options elsewhere is arguably his best bet at this stage.

Such a point has been raised by Cavani’s compatriot Gus Poyet, who said in October that the Uruguayan should find a new club to help salvage his international career.

“He was unlucky because without Ronaldo coming in, he was playing as the main striker,” said the former Premier League manager.

“Maybe he should move in January… seeing how things are now, and seeing him not getting to 90 minutes for the national team because he’s not playing – maybe.”

One club rumoured to be interested is Barcelona. Spanish outlet Sport recently reported that the Catalan giants have been offered Cavani for a reasonable fee next month as they look to cope with the absence of Sergio Aguero.

If United don’t cash in on Cavani, then they risk losing him for free next summer when his contract is up. Cavani also has the added option of being able to negotiate a pre-contract with other clubs from January onwards.

Whether Cavani’s time at Old Trafford is set to come to an end or not remains to be seen, but the Uruguayan still has plenty to offer other clubs should they come calling in January.

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