The spotlight was always going to be on Edinson Cavani in Manchester United’s meeting with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night.
After all, the striker spent seven years at the Parc des Princes before parting company with the French champions at the end of last season.
However, after his Instagram activity on Sunday, the focus on Cavani has only intensified ahead of the visit of his former club.
The Uruguayan posted a message on the social media site that has led to an investigation from the Football Association due to the allegedly discriminatory nature of the language used.
Cavani has apologised for causing offence and will co-operate fully with the FA, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backing the organisation’s inquiry.
However, the United boss has no doubts over Cavani’s state of mind ahead of a game that the Red Devils only need a draw from to secure a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
“Edinson is ready to play,” Solskjaer stated in his pre-match press conference.
“Of course, it’s special for him to play against PSG, where he is the top scorer. From knowing him, I think that will give him energy and he will be ready.
“He is so professional, experienced and he will work on his mindset today and tomorrow to be ready for the game.
“The same goes for the FA (investigation). He’s learned a lesson. It might affect him but he’ll have to put it to one side when the game’s on and the best players can put problems or the other thoughts away for a while and perform when they have to.”
The post, which could land Cavani a ban, will clearly have no impact on Solskjaer’s team selection and the Norwegian will clearly be very tempted to start the striker, given the impressive nature of his performance off the bench at St Mary’s on Sunday.
Two goals and an assist was quite the impact from a player many were sceptical about United signing. Of course, a couple of good performances isn’t reason enough for anyone to start getting carried away but Cavani undeniably brings a focal point to the team’s attack that has been lacking since Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter over 18 months ago.
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood have all proven their worth since the Belgian departed at the start of last season but there have been occasions when the team has lacked the killer instinct only a real number nine has in his locker.
Cavani’s predatory finishing was very much in evidence at Southampton but it was his movement during his first start against Istanbul Basaksehir that really underlined what he offers to United.
He didn’t get on the scoresheet in the 4-1 win at Old Trafford last week but he caused the Turkish side’s defenders all sorts of problems with his running on and off the ball, which in turn created opportunities for his team-mates.
“I think it’s really important, especially for me,” Donny van de Beek said of playing with Cavani. “If you come in the box, it gives you some extra space because defenders always look extra for the striker, so it gives extra space for the midfielders.”
PSG won’t need to do much homework on Cavani. Thomas Tuchel and his players know the striker inside out. They’re well aware of the threat he poses to their hopes of reaching the knockout stage.
Martial is expected to be back in contention for a recall, having missed the win against Southampton through illness, but Cavani has shown in their last two fixtures why he is a better option down the middle.
Solskjaer favours a back three in these bigger fixtures and Cavani is ideally suited to partnering Rashford up front in a likely 3-4-1-2 formation because of his movement, experience and killer instinct.
One point will be enough to send United through to the knockout round while three would secure top spot with a game to spare, something many thought impossible when the group stage draw took place in September.
Cavani has only had a bit-part role to play so far in the Champions League but with two crucial games on the horizon and the knockout stages within touching distance, the 33-year-old still has the opportunity to make a massive impact in this season’s group stage.
How big of an impact could depend on Solskjaer, and how he opts to use the striker.
But it’s clear that the manager has no doubts about Cavani’s mindset after a couple of difficult days for the striker.