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Short-term loan signings that Manchester United could target at the transfer deadline

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Some quick fixes for United to consider

Paris Saint Germain v AS Monaco - French League 1 Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images

Islam Slimani - Leicester City, on loan at Monaco (Loan)

Montpellier V Monaco. French Ligue 1, Regular Season. Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

This one would be tricky, but doable. Islam Slimani is currently on loan at Monaco from his parent club, Leicester City. If a loan for Slimani was to work out, it would likely involve a fee for cancelling the Monaco loan, which was agreed to be for the entire 2019/20 season.

Slimani’s name doesn’t excite many people because many people don’t really know him other than his failed years at Leicester after tearing up the Portuguese league with Sporting. It turns out, dominating in Portugal does not necessarily lead to being successful in Engla... (wait this is hitting too close to home. I’ll stop).

The most important factor for a short term loan is: does this player fit the current system? With Slimani you would need him to either step in for Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial so United don’t need to change their style to accommodate him.

In that regard, he does. Slimani gets very involved in build up play (0.28 xGBuildup/90). He can serve as either a backup to Martial, or play as the center forward and allow Martial to shift into Rashford’s second forward slot on the left, with Slimani playing him balls in behind. Martial isn’t as good at this as Rashford, but he’s better than Dan James. As an added bonus Slimani is two inches taller than Rashford and Martial, giving United a bit more of an aerial presence in the box.

This season Slimani is back to getting shots, and good shots at that (3.72 shots/90 and 0.21 xG/shot). How does that compare to Rashford and Martial? Well,

He does a pretty good job converting those shots too.

Those numbers would obviously drop off if he came to a United team that doesn’t provide any service to their forwards.

At the end of the day, on a short term loan United would just need Slimani to score around four goals for him to make a good impact. Worst case scenario, he provides just as little as the rest of United’s forwards do when Rashford isn’t around but at least Martial’s legs get a bit of a break.

Edinson Cavani - Paris Saint-Germain (Loan or rumoured €20m)

Paris Saint Germain v AS Monaco - French League 1 Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images

Edinson Cavani could be an odd fit at United, but often the talent available on the market will not be a perfect fit for squad needs. Still, Cavani has proven himself as a reliable goalscorer in 2 top leagues and Europe over the 2010s. He turns 32 in a month, but could still make an excellent rotation option for top teams short of attacking depth.

With Rashford out for an extended period, United need more strikers. Cavani could partner Anthony Martial up top, or take the no. 9 spot in a front 3 with Tony on the left. He’s not as sharp as he used to be, but still has 5 goals from 14 appearances in his limited role this season.

The Uruguayan marksman seems to have had a falling out with the perennial French champions after the arrival of Mauro Icardi. Atletico Madrid had supposedly closed the deal for Cavani, but the move has yet to be completed. Chelsea are also reportedly interested in bringing him in as a mid-season reinforcement. United would have to act quickly, but it would almost certainly be worth the effort and money with Rashford out for 2-3 months and the considerably weak depth in attack.

Carlos Tevez - Boca Juniors (Loan)

Boca Juniors v Independiente - Superliga 2019/20 Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

This is a weird one. Not only is Carlos Tevez 35 years old and well and truly past it, having failed to score more than 5 goals in a season since 2016, he also has a contentious past with both the club and the fans. After two remarkably successful seasons at Manchester United, Tevez infamously fell out with Sir Alex Ferguson after a series of lineup snubs down the final stretch in 2008/09 and left for the newly rich and particularly noisy neighbors, Manchester City.

After several unfortunately successful seasons at the Etihad, Tevez spent a couple years racking up Scudettos with Juventus before returning to Boca Juniors, spending a short spell in Shanghai, and then again returning to Boca. He’s hardly a center-piece of Boca’s current side, and is much more limited physically than when he first caught United’s attention in 2007.

Tevez is a versatile attacker, who can play in a creative role as well as up top, but he hasn’t played in top league in some time, making it difficult to evaluate how valuable he’d actually be to United. He would add another body for Ole to consider, but he certainly should not be a primary target. If he does come back for a loan spell it will likely be out of desperation for experience and depth.

Krzysztof Piątek - AC Milan (Loan)

AC Milan v Torino - Italian Coppa Italia Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images

Krzysztof Piątek is certainly the youngest of these options, but he’s already had a bit of experience leading the line in a top league. He was signed by AC Milan in January, 2019 as a replacement for Gonzalo Higuain, and scored 11 goals in 21 appearances. He’s since struggled, however, and with the return of Zlatan Ibrahimović, Piątek is rumoured to be available for loan.

Krzysztof Piątek is still just 24 years of age, and still has some growing room left as a player. He won’t beat out Anthony Martial for the starting spot, but could add some depth and style diversity to United’s attacking corps. His relatively young age could also make him a candidate for a longer deal should he impress.

Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have both been linked to the Polish no. 9 as an alternative striking option, meaning United will have some competition at the deadline.

Update: Ah well.