Manchester United’s transfer dealings have belatedly kicked into gear with the acquisition of Feyenoord’s young full-back Tyrell Malacia. More is on the way with free agent Christian Eriksen set to sign next with the club also progressing in an attempt to negotiate a deal with Ajax for versatile defender Lisandro Martinez. However, new manager Erik ten Hag’s plans have been dealt a major blow with their lone striker and legend Cristiano Ronaldo seemingly wanting out.
United’s No 7 wants to play Champions League football, something he has not missed out on since 2002. There is also the added aspect of a salary cut which is scheduled to be implemented across the board at the English giants for missing out on top four in the Premier League.
His agent Jorge Mendes is trying to facilitate a move for his client and has already had talks with fellow Premier League side Chelsea and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
The Red Devils are adamant that he is not for sale but the player has not attended training for two days due to ‘family reasons’ and there is no certainty he will board the plane for the club’s pre-season tour despite being told he must. Ten Hag has made it clear he does not want any distractions as he builds towards his first season in charge.
🎙| Nuno Luz (Portuguese journalist) to @RadioMARCA on Cristiano Ronaldo’s future:
“Real Madrid doesn't want him and Barcelona would be the last chance. We have to look at the clubs with which Mendes has the most contacts and we must not forget Atlético de Madrid.” 😂
— Atletico Universe (@atletiuniverse) July 5, 2022
The super-agent is a wily operator and is now in touch with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, both arch rivals of Real Madrid, a place where CR7 enjoys legendary status.
A similar ploy was used in the last campaign when Mendes was apparently offering his client to Manchester City with Pep Guardiola needing a striker. That prompted United to wake up and bring him back to Old Trafford.
Atletico emerges as an unlikely choice
Mendes enjoys a fruitful association with the Rojiblancos. And the La Liga giants can also offer Champions League football. Spanish publication AS have revealed that Ronaldo’s agent has spoken to the club regarding his client.
The Colchoneros have the economic standing to be able to pay the star striker’s wages. Another factor that lends itself favourably to this development is the fact that manager Diego Simeone is a huge admirer of the Portuguese and he would be more than happy to get the record goalscorer.
The club, on their part, have initiated an informal poll regarding whether the signing should be done. Social media reactions were a mixture of astonishment, excitement and reluctance to complete a deal for one of their biggest enemies over the years.
Quite a few fans could not believe the fact that the Portugal international could even think about making the move across the city. But in modern football, such things have become quite common and it should not come as a surprise to fans of a player who prioritises his own records over anything else, a major reason behind his success over the years.
His winning mentality and determination would certainly boost the Atletico squad which has lost Luis Suarez with Alvaro Morata also likely to leave. But many fans could not forget the past and it would certainly be a polarising signing if ever completed.
Nuno Luz, a Portuguese journalist and expert, spoke to Radio MARCA and said, “Real Madrid don’t want him and Barcelona would be the last resort. We have to look at the clubs with whom [Jorge] Mendes has more contacts and we mustn’t forget Atletico Madrid.”
Stranger things have taken place in the past but such a move would definitely be among the strangest. This saga might take some time before it reaches its conclusion. For Ten Hag and United, this certainly is not the best way to prepare for such an important season.