Paul Merson Says: Edinson Cavani contract extension at Man Utd is no-brainer

Plus: Merson says Chelsea learned a valuable lesson in their 2-1 victory against Man City at the weekend ahead of their Champions League final showdown; watch Chelsea vs Arsenal on Wednesday (kick-off 8.15pm) and Man Utd vs Liverpool on Thursday (kick-off 8.15pm) on Sky Sports

Edinson Cavani celebrates after scoring Manchester United's second goal against Roma

Paul Merson says it's a no-brainer for Man Utd to keep Edinson Cavani after the striker extended his stay at Old Trafford.

The 34-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain last October, signed a new one-year extension on Monday after helping United into the Europa League final and second place in the Premier League.

So, in his latest column, the Magic Man provides his verdict on the Cavani deal and where Chelsea may need to improve ahead of a potential title challenge next season.

Elsewhere, Merson also looks ahead to what the weekend's result might mean for the Champions League final on May 29, and the potential problems Guardiola and his side face before the end of the season....

'No-brainer for Man Utd to keep Cavani'

Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani continued his goalscoring form for Man Utd at Aston Villa and we know what a top player he is.

When he came to England, he'd played for Paris Saint-Germain and played at the top level for a number of years. Also, he's a top Uruguay international who has done well for his country at World Cups.

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He's a proper player and a warrior as well. He'd run through a brick wall for you, that's what he does and what he's all about.

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I can't talk highly enough of him.


From a Manchester United point of view, it's a no-brainer to try and get Cavani to re-sign.

There's a real art in being a sub and coming on and scoring goals. Solskjaer himself did it and Olivier Giroud at Chelsea is good at it. It's not just luck.

People will say that he comes on when teams are tired, but I don't see everyone scoring goals when they come on as a sub.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United's win over Aston Villa in the Premier League

Some players find it really hard when they come on as a sub. They find it hard to get into the game, can't get up to the pace of it and by the time they do, the full-time whistle has gone. People like Giroud, Solskjaer in his day and Cavani come on and they get into the game straight away.

Plus, if I'm Manchester United, I want to keep him for Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and all the young kids I'm sure they've got coming through at the club who are centre forwards.

You cannot learn from anybody better than Cavani. His movement is just phenomenal.


'Confident Tuchel making good decisions'

Image: Merson has been impressed by 'confident' Thomas Tuchel

Looking at Tuchel since the day he arrived at Stamford Bridge, I don't think he's a manager that struggles with his confidence, but the two wins over Guardiola are big moments for him.

He's so clever, very confident, very assured in what he's doing, and I've been so impressed with him.

He's come in and gone bang, I'm playing three at the back. He's got Antonio Rudiger into the team and you look back now and ask how Frank Lampard wasn't playing him. Something may have gone on in training or whatever, but you've got to forget those things when you are a manager. You can't chop your nose off to spite your face.

Tuchel has just made very good decisions. Cesar Azpilicueta has been absolutely outstanding. He had Eden Hazard in his pocket last week.

Everybody who has come in has been a seven or an eight out of 10. Every single player.

N'Golo Kante wasn't playing much with Mateo Kovacic playing ahead of him, but all of a sudden Kante's come back in and been just unbelievable.

'Something still not right with Werner'

Timo Werner (AP)

One thing that's still not quite right though, is the centre forward position.

I watch Timo Werner and I just think there's something missing still.

There was an instance in the game against Man City where he did great to get in down the left-hand side of the penalty area and he just shoots. He shoots and he hits the side netting and it's never going to go in in a million years. Why did you shoot there?

His decision-making is not great.

Against Real Madrid he gets caught offside when he should never be offside. He's got unbelievable pace, but he gets a bit lazy in his runs. He's certainly not a lazy player, but he's just got to take more care in making runs in behind. He runs offside too many times for me.

Matchday+ chelsea v man city 5:00
Watch the latest addition of Matchday+ with a pitchside view of all the best action of Chelsea's 2-1 win over Man City

Do Chelsea need a new striker?

Watching Chelsea in recent weeks, I personally think they need to buy a striker.

They need someone who is going to be in the top four or five goal scorers in the Premier League next season. You need that if you are going to challenge for the Premier League.

Chelsea don't score bundles of goals. They make chances and they are tight at the back but in the big games, where you maybe don't get a bucket load of chances, you need that clinical centre forward, who is going to put the ball in the back of the net.

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You can't be having what happened in Madrid in the first leg when Werner missed a sitter. You just can't have that.

You need a natural goal scorer there who puts that in the back of the net with the minimum of fuss and you get back to the halfway line.

For me, they need a forward.

That doesn't mean that Werner's not going to stay at the club because I think he can play on either side of a front man and not through the middle. He's also becoming a handful, there's no doubt about that, but they just need that ruthless streak in front of goal if they are to go up another level.

'A massive result; Chelsea learned valuable lesson vs City'

It was a massive result for Chelsea. They are just rolling along at the moment.

To come from behind against Man City as well, that will be huge for their belief and confidence in the weeks ahead.

People may look at this result and think it's got nothing to do with the Champions League final, but Chelsea have now beaten City twice.

PA - Chelsea players celebrate Marcos Alonso's winner at the Etihad 2:02
Mark Bosnich believes Chelsea's Premier League win over Manchester City could give them the psychological edge ahead of the Champions League final

I know people will say that if Sergio Aguero didn't try to dink the penalty then they go 2-0 up and that they should have had a penalty with Raheem Sterling, of course they should have, but this is what happens. You've only got to have that little bit of luck in a final and the winners are going to be the ones who have the luck.

This is where it gets down to the business end and I thought Chelsea, in the second half, learned a valuable lesson and became less fearful of Man City and had a go. That's maybe because the shackles were off and they were 1-0 down, but they took the game to Man City and now, I think we are looking at a really good Champions League final between these two.

Chelsea will now know they can't just sit back and defend for 90 minutes because Man City will open you up, and Thomas Tuchel knows he has the armoury to hurt Man City as much as Man City can hurt Chelsea.

'Man City need to stay competitive'

PA - Pep Guardiola 0:28
Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City's next game with Chelsea in the Champions League final will play out differently to their Premier League meeting

For Manchester City, they've won the Carabao Cup, reached their first Champions League final and on the verge of another Premier League title, but I think the next few weeks are important for them.

They need to stay competitive, in my opinion.

It's hard because they've virtually won the league and I'm sure they'll win it soon with potentially two or three games to go.

But then they've got to keep their edge ahead of the Champions League final. Chelsea have still got competitive games to come before that.

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Richard Dunne has been impressed by Thomas Tuchel's impact at Chelsea but believes a full-strength Manchester City will win the Champions League final

You see it in Super Bowls and sports that have play-offs where teams get a bye week and all of a sudden, the team that plays in the knockout rounds are more match sharp.

Man City have got to play at 100 per cent to win the Premier League. Chelsea have still got a big game against Leicester in the FA Cup final and they've also got Arsenal to play on Wednesday. They've still got big games to play ahead of the Champions League final so they are going to have to keep their levels high and stay competitive, and that's what Man City have to do too, albeit with not much to play for.

They cannot just take their foot off the gas and wait for the Champions League final because it just doesn't work like that. They need to play at full pelt for the last few Premier League games.

It's tough for Guardiola because do you play your full-strength team in the last two league games with nothing to play for? Or do you rest players? It's hard when you've already won things. We've seen that through the years in football. We've seen it in Premier League games when a team goes 3-0 up.

We even saw it on Saturday. The prime example is Aguero's penalty and for me, that lack of intensity is already creeping in because you don't do things like the penalty. That was a sure sign for me that they've got to get focused.

Chelsea's goalkeeper Edouard Mendy saves a penalty shot by Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, left, during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Saturday, May 8, 2021. 0:49
Sergio Aguero missed the chance to double Manchester City's lead against Chelsea with this failed Panenka penalty attempt

When you win the league there is a natural drop off and City could just stroll through the last two league games. There's no energy in it and all of a sudden you get to the Champions League final and for me, you just can't turn it on and off like a tap.

It's a very important three weeks for Man City. Don't get me wrong, I think they will get through it and it will be a great final. But there's still a lot of hard work to be done by City. They need to do things properly, stay competitive and keep the players sharp building up to the final against Chelsea.

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