Manchester United are willing to listen to offers for Cristiano Ronaldo this summer.
United’s public message has been that Ronaldo is not for sale following his failure to turn up for pre-season training for four days in a row. He has cited family reasons, an explanation the club accepts.
The final decision will lie with Ronaldo, leaving the door open for him to change his mind and stay at Old Trafford.
Sky Sports News has been told Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has spent the past few weeks selling the ‘Cristiano effect’ to clubs having compiled a dossier of his client’s immense sponsorship, social media and ‘new markets’ influence.
Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly is among the executives to listen to the pitch and is considering a move, with the Blues having also discussed a move for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.
However, Chelsea are concentrating on deals for Raheem Sterling and Raphinha, with the club only signing players head coach Thomas Tuchel wants.
Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Napoli have also been engaged with Mendes.
The 37-year-old has not reported back to training at Carrington, citing family reasons, which the club have accepted.
Ronaldo’s absence comes amid informing United he wants to leave Old Trafford this summer if a suitable offer arrives.
Ronaldo was due to re-join his team-mates on Monday, but has instead been keeping fit at Portugal’s training base – Cidade do Futebol – for the past few days.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes Ronaldo’s United future cannot become a “saga” this summer.
The Sky Sports pundit tweeted on Monday: “The only important factor with the Ronaldo situation is that it’s dealt with decisively and quickly. This can’t be a saga that takes the focus away from ETH bedding in period for the next two months.”
Ronaldo is understood to be concerned at 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 Denmark international agreed in principle to join United on a free transfer.
A basic agreement is in place with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong, while advanced negotiations continue for Lisandro Martinez.
Talks have also taken place with Ajax for forward Antony, but new boss Alfred Schreuder indicated: “He has a contract until 2025. I want to work with him, and the club knows this.”
Ten Hag will have to expand his attacking targets if Ronaldo does exit with the club already concerned by their lack of goalscoring threat heading into the new campaign.
Ronaldo scored 24 times across all competitions last term, but United recorded their lowest-ever Premier League points tally.
United begin their pre-season schedule against Liverpool in Bangkok next Tuesday, before friendlies with Melbourne City, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in Australia.
In his latest Sky Sports column, Paul Merson delivers his verdict on Chelsea potentially signing Cristiano Ronaldo:
“It’s a bit disappointing in the way that you hear the news that he wants to play in the Champions League. It’s been clear Man Utd won’t be in the Champions League for a long time. I don’t know why this wasn’t nipped in the bud early doors. It’s had to drag on this long. I’d be a bit disappointed if I was a Man Utd fan.
“It’s hard to get centre forwards who can score goals, especially in the best and hardest league in the world. So if Ronaldo did move on, Man Utd haven’t really got a replacement to take his place as a proven goalscorer who is going to get you 15 to 20 goals. So they’d have to go and search for someone.”
Where is Ronaldo and who can afford him?
Portuguese football expert Pedro Sepulveda speaking on Sky Sports News:
“If you look at the teams that can give Ronaldo a contract, there aren’t many. Nor are there many teams who can compete for the Champions League. You have Bayern Munich who have said Ronaldo is not part of their project. In Spain, you have Real Madrid and you can’t put Barcelona in the race. Ronaldo will never play for Barcelona and Real Madrid isn’t interested in a player like Ronaldo anymore.
“In England is the only place I could see some opportunities – but can you see Ronaldo playing in the Premier League with another shirt that’s not Man United? Can he be on another team? You have Liverpool and Chelsea – we already know the new Chelsea owner had a conversation with Jorge Mendes about Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I don’t think we have to talk about the financials, look at the money he already has. It’s not about the money, it’s about the project.”
Erik ten Hag’s first Premier League game as Manchester United manager will be against Brighton at Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports, on the opening Super Sunday of the 2022/23 season.
After facing Graham Potter’s Seagulls on Sunday August 7, live on Sky Sports, United travel to Brentford in the second round of fixtures before hosting rivals Liverpool in a blockbuster early-season clash on the weekend of August 20.
United’s trip to the Etihad Stadium for the first Manchester derby of the season on October 1 kicks off a daunting month which sees Ten Hag’s side travel to Everton and Chelsea and host Tottenham, Newcastle and West Ham.
The final game before the season pauses for the winter World Cup will be against Fulham on the weekend of November 12/13. United then return to action on Boxing Day at Fulham.
2023 will be ushered in by a home match against promoted Bournemouth. Premier League champions Manchester City are next up at Old Trafford on January 14, the return trip to Anfield on March 4, while United conclude their season at home to Fulham on May 28.
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