Erik ten Hag may be ready to put full faith in Cristiano Ronaldo to deliver the goods in 2022/23
Only Erik ten Hag truly knows what his preferred Manchester United starting XI will look like next season, and even then, the club have to deliver it.
What we can do, is get a read on the situation, and one aspect we are pretty confident on, is Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line when the season kicks off.
This is due to two key reasons, firstly United’s transfer market strategy, and secondly, Erik ten Hag has spoken glowingly about Ronaldo already.
Ronaldo’s presence and ability allows United to concentrate transfer efforts elsewhere, which should start taking shape in the weeks ahead.
Ten Hag’s full faith in Cristiano Ronaldo
Erik ten Hag has already signaled his full faith in Cristiano Ronaldo, speaking in the Netherlands, and at his press conference.
Speaking to Dutch outlet AD last month, Ten Hag said: “I am looking forward to working with Ronaldo. He is a giant in what he has shown. And I think he is still very ambitious. Of course I would like to keep him.”
The new Manchester United manager was asked about Ronaldo at his press conference, and had a swift response when asked what he expects from the superstar, “Goals”, he responded, before answering “of course,” when asked if he is part of his plans.
With full faith in Cristiano Ronaldo, it might have been an odd move to then go and blow £80 million on Darwin Nunez. United backed out of that transfer deal.
Instead it appears United’s efforts in attack have a slightly different direction, to support Ronaldo rather than replace him.
The Times reports Ajax star Antony is a ‘key summer target’, and the winger is expected to be prioritised once a midfielder is brought in.
Ronaldo scored 24 goals last season, finishing the campaign as the club’s top goalscorer by considerable distance, also being voted into the Premier League’s PFA Team of the Year.
He is still capable of producing big moments, doing so in a poor team. Ten Hag plans to build a cohesive, more structured team around the veteran superstar.
United still may add another striker, this would be a younger player, essentially a back-up, rather than an incoming superstar, who could cost very little.
The Manchester United boss seemingly has a lot of trust in Ronaldo’s ability to still produce the goods, and while long-term the Red Devils require an answer up front, the #7 could be set to lead the line again in 2022/23.