RALF RANGNICK insists veteran striker Edinson Cavani is going nowhere in the New Year transfer window.
Cavani had grown frustrated at a lack of game time but came on for his first action since November 2, scoring in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle.
Then the 34-year-old made only his third league start of the season, up front in the 3-1 win over Burnley on Thursday.
And Rangnick said: “We’ve had quite a few conversations in the last couple of weeks, he is probably the player with whom I have spoken most.
“I told him from the very first day that, for me, 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 just amazing and I told him that I desperately want him to stay until the end of the season.
“He knows that. He also knows how highly I rate him and how highly I respect him, and that was also the reason why I played him against Burnley from the beginning together with Cristiano.
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“I will definitely not let him go.
“For me, he is a highly important player for the rest of the season, still playing in three competitions, so we will definitely need Edi.
“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, yes, our squad is maybe a little bit too big with regards to numbers but we still have Covid, we have three competitions, as I said, and I think we could do with a bigger squad maybe in times without Covid.”
Another player frustrated at his lack of action is Donny van de Beek who started just two Premier League games in the whole of 2021.
The 24-year-old former Ajax star is now in danger of missing out on Holland’s World Cup squad if he cannot either force his way into the United team or get a move elsewhere.
Rangnick, however, is giving the midfielder no guarantess.
He said: “So far as I have got to know him he's got a top mentality, he works hard in every training session.
“He’s a team player through and through and there will be games where he will get his chance to play I’m sure.
“I also had a longer conversation with him last week about that and, again, of course it's difficult for him right now because he also wants to play for the Dutch national team.
“He wants to qualify for himself and play in the World Cup in Qatar and in order to do that he needs to get game-time here.
“But I still believe that we should keep him, that he should stay here, definitely until the end of this season and try to get as much game-time as he possibly can.”
One player who may have played his last for United is Anthony Martial, however, after his agent made it clear that he wants to leave United.
The French forward has been left out the last two squads despite having recovered from a knee injury.
And Rangnick said: “He made it very clear that he wants to leave and, in a way, I can understand his wish to leave and to try to play more regularly somewhere else.
“But, again, it's a question not only of what he wants to do but it’s also a question of which kind of clubs are interested in him and do they meet the demands of the club, so we have to wait and see.
“He is not injured currently, I decided to go for the group of players that were in the squad against Burnley, so it had nothing to do with injuries.”
One striker who will definitely be part of the action against Wolves at Old Trafford tomorrow is Cristiano Ronaldo despite it being the 36-year-old’s third game in eight days.
Rangnick said: “Physically he seems to be fit. He's doing everything, he's a top professional, he looks after himself and after his body, he eats the right things.
“At the age of 36 right now, I've never seen a player at this age like this, maybe Ibrahimovic who is even a little bit older but he's a different kind of player.
“But I don't see why he shouldn't be able to play three games within eight days.
“But if at one stage we need to rest him it's no problem but then it's even more important to have Edinson in the squad.”
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