Cristiano Ronaldo may have chosen now to go public about his desire to leave Manchester United because a deal may already be in place with Chelsea.
The Athletic, whose David Ornstein was the one to break the news that Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes was talking to other clubs about a possible transfer, claims that sources close to the club have described the timing of the announcement as “awful”.
Reporters Lauire Whitwell and Pol Ballus claim that Chelsea are “giving proper consideration to signing him.”
The article follows the same reporter Whitwell’s claims yesterday that interim manager Ralf Rangnick had advised the club to sell Ronaldo in January, to avoid this situation from occurring.
The new report suggests that Rangnick’s request could have followed open criticism of the club’s directors by the 37 year old.
“During group conversations at Carrington last season, Ronaldo questioned United’s executive leadership,” the report says.
“At various stages last season Ronaldo privately expressed exasperation at United’s trajectory, and the capabilities of the club to correct course, and informed sources feel the next step in attempts to leave would be to go public.
Ronaldo has given “family reasons” as the cause of his failure to turn up for training this week. Family issues were also noted by Duncan Castles’ weekend report which claimed the player has asked to be sold.
His potential absence from the pre-season tour is also expected to cause the club problems with sponsors.
Interestingly, the report states that “for all the club’s insistence he is not for sale there are suspicions that decision-makers even think it is a suitable opportunity to sell and recalibrate the attack.”
A parallel is drawn with the way Ronaldo left Juventus a year ago.
Also noted is whether Barcelona’s possible interest could be a bargaining chip in United’s efforts to move one of their stars in the opposite direction. “The mind wandered to the idea of Frenkie de Jong’s proposed deal getting greased by the 37-year-old,” the reporters muse.
The Blaugrana’s president Joan Laporta was in talks with Mendes yesterday and according to the same report, “Laporta’s claims that De Jong is not for sale were taken with a pinch of salt by those familiar to discussions.”
The Catalans’ salary capping restrictions could be a major complication in making such a deal happen, however. Ronaldo’s loyalty to Real Madrid may also be put under scrutiny.
On the other hand, United’s owners would almost certainly prefer that the star went abroad than to Premier League opposition.
🚨 Cristiano Ronaldo not expected to attend Man Utd pre-season training for second consecutive day, citing family reasons. Currently unclear if/when 37yo will return. #MUFC head on tour to Thailand + Australia on Friday. With @lauriewhitwell @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/QqP4BPpFvD
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) July 5, 2022