Manchester United are ready to listen to offers for Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, Sky Sports News has understood.
But United’s public stance is, and has always been, that Ronaldo is not for sale after failing to attend pre-season training four days in a row. He has cited family reasons, a statement the club accepts.
The final decision rests with Ronaldo, leaving the door open for him to change his mind and stay at Old Trafford.
Sky Sports News I am told that in recent weeks Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has been selling the ‘Cristiano Effect’ to clubs who have put together a dossier on his client’s immense sponsorship, social media and ‘new markets’ influence.
Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly is one of the executives listening to the pitch and considering a transfer, with the Blues also discussing a transfer for Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.
However, Chelsea are focusing on deals for Raheem Sterling and Raphinha, with the club only wanting to sign players head coach Thomas Tuchel wants.
Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Napoli are also engaged to Mendes.
The 37-year-old has failed to report to Carrington training, due to family reasons which the club has accepted.
Ronaldo’s absence comes as he informs United that he would like to leave Old Trafford this summer if a suitable offer comes along.
Ronaldo was due to rejoin his teammates on Monday but has instead stayed fit in recent days at Portugal’s training base – Cidade do Futebol.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes Ronaldo’s future at United cannot become a “saga” this summer.
The air sports The pundit tweeted on Monday: “The only significant factor with the Ronaldo situation is that it is being dealt with decisively and quickly. This cannot be a saga that diverts attention from ETH bedding in the next two months.”
It is clear that Ronaldo is concerned about United’s transfer activity this summer, but on Tuesday the club announced Ten Hag’s first signing with the arrival of Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia.
Malacia could soon be followed by the arrival of Christian Eriksen, after the Danish international agreed in principle to join United on a free transfer.
There is a basic agreement with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong, while advanced negotiations continue for Lisandro Martinez.
There have also been talks with Ajax for striker Antony, but new boss Alfred Schreuder indicated: “He has a contract until 2025. I want to work with him, and the club knows that.”
Ten Hag will have to expand his attacking goals if Ronaldo does leave with the club already concerned about their lack of goal threat en route to the new campaign.
Ronaldo scored 24 times in all competitions last season, but United recorded the lowest number of points in the Premier League ever.
United will begin their pre-season schedule against Liverpool in Bangkok next Tuesday, ahead of friendlies with Australia’s Melbourne City, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.
Analysis: Ronaldo’s actions let Man Utd down
Zinny Boswell of Sky Sports:
The timing of Ronaldo’s desire to move on and be made public has let United down just a week before they leave for their pre-season tour. Manchester City and Liverpool quickly struck a deal for two of Europe’s best young strikers, while United made plans for a life with the Portuguese.
It begs the question: should United have been better prepared for this scenario?
Erik ten Hag is now scrambling to reconfigure his line of attack. As things stand, he largely relies on Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for goals, neither of whom have played well for 12 months nor are they consistently convinced in a pivotal role. These are the same two forwards Louis van Gaal entrusted six years ago in the final stages of his final season at Old Trafford.
United have almost two months left to dive into the transfer market and come up with a solution to their striker problem. But another disappointing start to the window has left fans concerned about the club’s effectiveness in the negotiations. Even if this new transfer team led by John Murtough gets their act together, rival clubs will smell United’s desperation and raise the price if they ask for a striker.
Ronaldo’s departure, while potentially destabilizing in the short term, does offer United and Ten Hag the opportunity to put together a smooth forward line – something that would have worked well in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s penultimate season. The campaign before Ronaldo arrived, United scored 73 goals in the Premier League – 16 more than the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. It’s a trend that has followed him at Juventus, where his arrival also led to a drop in goals scored.
Ten Hag used Dusan Tadic as a false nine with great success at Ajax in the 2018/19 season when they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. The new United boss was also successful last season with Sebastian Haller, a more conventional number 9, when Ajax under Ten Hag won a third Eredivisie title in four years. Had the former West Ham striker not sealed a transfer to Borussia Dortmund, it would have come as no surprise to see United attempting to replace Ronaldo with Haller based on Ten Hag’s preference for working with players he is familiar with.
Regardless of which camp you’re in regarding Ronaldo, there’s no denying that United need to strengthen their attacking options and be quick. Ajax striker Antony is a target and would fill a void on the right wing, but even his arrival would leave a gaping hole on the striker. Whether the club can find Ten Hag’s ideal target under these circumstances remains to be seen, which could see United spend another season with a stop-gap striker. They hope not another Odion Ighalo.
The Ronaldo Dilemma: Was He To Blame?
Sky Sports Peter Smith:
Cristiano Ronaldo was named Premier League Player of the Month in April. He scored five goals in four games, including a hat-trick. But in that month, Manchester United won only one of their six games.
Ronaldo was also named in the Premier League Team of the Year. United ended the season with consecutive defeats to Brighton and Crystal Palace. Sixth and trophyless. It was their worst competitive performance in 32 years.
As his team struggled, Ronaldo – at 37 years old, let’s not forget – found a way to make his mark.
The individual and the collective. That’s the Ronaldo dilemma.
Read the full feature here
Merson says: Ronaldo ticks box for Chelsea
in his last air sports column, Paul Merson gives his verdict on Chelsea potentially signing Cristiano Ronaldo:
“It’s a little disappointing in the way you hear the news that he wants to play in the Champions League. It’s clear that Man Utd won’t play in the Champions League for a long time. I don’t know why this was” It has the early doors nipped in the bud It has had to drag on for so long I would be a little disappointed if I was a Man Utd fan.
“It’s hard to find strikers who can score goals, especially in the best and most difficult league in the world. So if Ronaldo went through, Man Utd wouldn’t really have a replacement to take his place as a proven goalscorer. You get 15 to 20 goals. So they have to go find someone.”
Man Utd schedule: Ten Hag debut against Brighton on Sky
Erik ten Hag’s first Premier League game as Manchester United manager is live against Brighton at Old Trafford air sportson the opening Super Sunday of the 2022/23 season.
After meeting Graham Potter’s Seagulls on Sunday, August 7, live on air sports, United travel to Brentford in the second round of matches, before playing against rivals Liverpool in a blockbuster at the start of the season on the weekend of 20 August.
United’s trip to the Etihad Stadium for the first Manchester derby of the season on October 1 begins a daunting month as Ten Hag’s side travel to Everton and Chelsea and host Tottenham, Newcastle and West Ham.
The last game before the season is interrupted for the winter World Cup is against Fulham on the weekend of 12/13 November. United will then return to action on Boxing Day in Fulham.
2023 will be ushered in with a home game against the newly promoted Bournemouth. Premier League champions Manchester City are next at Old Trafford on January 14, the return trip to Anfield on March 4, as United finish their season at home against Fulham on May 28.
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