Cristiano Ronaldo’s second stint at Old Trafford could be coming to an end sooner rather than later. Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is preparing to embark on their preseason tour, which begins with a date against Liverpool in Bangkok on July 12, but Ronaldo will not be joining the squad when it flies out of Manchester on Friday, CBS Sports transfer insider Fabrizio Romano reports.
Ronaldo has been absent from the team for three consecutive days of training as he deals with what has been reported as personal/family issues. It’s worth noting that before the squad reconvened on Monday, he asked to leave Manchester United if an adequate bid arrived for his services. So staying home from Bangkok and missing the 15-day trip will not only give him ample time to address his personal issues, but it will also buy more time for him and his agent Jorge Mendes to find a resolution and end this stalemate.
Five days into Ronaldo’s transfer request and Manchester United have since softened their stance and plan to listen to offers in an effort to do right by their superstar striker, who wants to play Champions League football, according to Sky Sports. It remains to be seen what kind of fee Ronaldo would command with one year remaining on his contract. Despite the 37-year-old scoring 18 league goals last season, his list of suitors seem to be short.
There are probably a number of reasons why Ronaldo wants out, with the main one being that he doesn’t feel like United have the potential to match his ambitions of competing at the highest levels of the game as they’re only in Europa League and not close to competing for a Premier League title due to the dominance of Manchester City and Liverpool. He may also not be pleased with a wage pay cut due to not qualifying for Champions League this season.
Chelsea seem like the leading destination as new American owner and acting director Todd Boehly looks to improve the attack this summer. The Blues are close to adding Raheem Sterling and are one of the few clubs who can match Ronaldo’s ambitions while also absorbing his salary. Boehly has already met with Ronaldo’s agent Mendes with a possible move being one of the topics that they discussed.
Boehly is considering a move for Ronaldo, but will also need to see if Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel would be on board with a move. After Chelsea, that’s where the potential destinations get murky. Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Khan has stated that Ronaldo doesn’t fit with the team’s philosophy. “As highly as I rate Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the greatest, a transfer wouldn’t be a fit with our philosophy,” he told German magazine Kicker.
Things could certainly change if Robert Lewandowski gets his preferred move to Barcelona, but at the moment Bayern won’t need two forwards over the age of 32, especially after landing Sadio Mane from Liverpool this summer. PSG don’t appear to have interest in Ronaldo and while Napoli do and can offer Champions League football, they may not have what it takes to compete for his services. If Chelsea decide to not follow up on their interest, a Serie A return could be in the cards, but that seems unlikely at this point.
Manchester United will have to move quickly as the Premier League season begins in less than a month and there isn’t much time remaining to sort this out. With Anthony Martial, Anthony Elanga and Marcus Rashford as the only recognized strikers on the roster, ten Hag would likely want to add a replacement if United move on. After missing out on Darwin Nunez, who moved to Liverpool, options seem to be dwindling for United in similar to Ronaldo’s possible destinations.
The difference is that if Ronaldo wants to force his way out, it’s best to let him walk even if a replacement can’t be secured. Imagine if all eyes were on the relationship of a dissatisfied Ronaldo and his new manager? For a new manager like ten Hag taking over the club, that additional magnifying glass of pressure is a recipe for disaster. The last thing the club wants is to see its manager crumble the way previous post-Alex Ferguson managers have in the past at Old Trafford.