Gary Neville has offered Manchester United some advice regarding Cristiano Ronaldo’s future, and it’s difficult to see many supporters disagreeing. Ronaldo wants to go away United for a Champions League club this summer – a possible saga threatening to distract an important period in Erik ten Hag’s rebuild.
It might be blind to not acknowledge that the uncertain way forward for such an impactful name as Ronaldo comes at an ailing time. On Monday, Ten Hag welcomed the rest of his newly-inherited squad back to Carrington as week two of pre-season commenced, however the 37-year-old striker was nowhere to be seen.
His absence, because of ‘family reasons’, could change into everlasting if Jorge Mendes successfully finds a suitor willing to approach United with an acceptable offer during his tour of Europe. Mendes has met with Chelsea and Bayern Munich already, with Napoli also credited with an interest in bringing him back to Serie A.
But with Ten Hag specializing in preparing an underperforming group of players for his first season in charge, the last item he needs is to be on the centre of a media whirlwind surrounding a player he may have hoped to construct around throughout 2022/23. And Neville believes United must waste no time settling the matter to stop making an already-mammoth task even more difficult.
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Reacting to the intensifying talk of Ronaldo’s potential exit on Monday, he tweeted: “The one necessary factor with the Ronaldo situation is that it’s handled decisively and quickly. This could’t be a saga that takes the main target away from ETH bedding in period for the following two months.”
Not only will Ten Hag require the complete attention of his squad throughout pre-season. But he will likely be desirous to have Ronaldo’s future clarified so he can plan accordingly and push United to recruit a worthy substitute after Edinson Cavani also left the club on a free transfer this summer.
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The Red Devils entering the brand new season next month with Ronaldo because the only natural striker in Ten Hag’s ranks can be an unnecessary risk in itself. But when he’s still wanting to go away, the club can be guilty of somewhat throwing the Dutchman under the bus in the event that they fail to interchange him.
United already need a latest striker, however it has slipped down their list of priorities after Liverpool hijacked their interest in Benfica’s Darwin Nunez. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford can play down the center but are rather more suited on the left. Ronaldo would wish an external successor, and dealing together with his future as quickly as possible gives United the very best probability of finding one.