The Uruguayan reportedly agreed personal terms for a move to the Catalan giants, but it seems United do not want to let him go for free with six months left on his contract.
Barcelona are said to only be in for him if they can get him without having to pay a transfer fee. Cavani is looking for more playing time and has various offers from different European and South American leagues.
United want to keep him as a backup, particularly if COVID cases continue to be a problem for teams in Europe.
Barcelona wanted to sign him for the remainder of the season and one additional year. But United are more interested in selling Anthony Martial for a big fee than letting Cavani go for free.
The forward will be returning to training soon and is expected to make a plea to United, asking him to let him go to his preferred team.