Five possible Cristiano Ronaldo replacements Manchester United could target
Cristiano Ronaldo has told Manchester United that he would like to leave this summer if he club receives a suitable offer during the transfer window, The Times reports.
The 37-year-old wants to compete for major trophies and after United slumped to a sixth-place finish last season, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner would miss out on Champions League football for the first time in 20 years if he stayed at Old Trafford.
Having won Europe’s premier club competition five times, the Champions League’s all-time top scorer doesn’t fancy a year in the Europa League.
Ronaldo, who was United’s top scorer last season with 24 goals across all competitions following his emotional return from Juventus, has a year left to run on his Manchester United contract with the option of a further 12 months.
However, if a Champions League side, who is capable of winning the competition and other trophies, submits a suitable offer for United’s number seven, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes will likely ask for the Reds to grant his client’s wish to depart.
The development in Ronaldo’s future comes as a hammer blow for Erik ten Hag who would have no doubt been preparing for the Portuguese captain to be leading his line ahead of his maiden campaign at the helm.
With Edinson Cavani having already departed on a free transfer and with Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez already being snapped up United’s fierce rivals – Manchester City and Liverpool, United could be left scrambling to fill the void our legendary number seven potentially leaves behind.
With our Premier League campaign kicking off in five weeks time, we take a look at five possible Cristiano Ronaldo replacements.
Five possible Cristiano Ronaldo replacements
According to the Athletic, Italian giants Napoli who finished third in Serie A last season and secured Champions League football are interested in bringing Ronaldo back to Italy.
If Ronaldo is interested in a move to I Ciucci then United simply have to do all they can to sign Napoli’s prized asset Osimhen as part of the deal.
BBC Sport report Napoli chairman Aurelio De Larentiis spent a club-record £81.3 million to sign Osimhen from Lille in 2020.
In his two seasons in Italy, the 23-year-old has scored 28 goals from 62 games and the Nigerian international is only going to get better with every passing year.
He’s a complete forward who could light up the Premier League and the Super Eagles striker wouldn’t be fazed about replacing Ronaldo.
The prolific Poland legend has produced goalscoring figures that Ronaldo would have been proud of in recent years.
But after eight years at the Allianz Stadium, the 33-year-old is keen to move to Barcelona this summer but Bayern Munich are digging their heels in.
Lewandowski, who has scored 344 goals in 375 games for the Bavarians, has a year left to run on his contract with the Bundesliga giants.
The former Borussia Dortmund marksman currently has no intention of extending his deal and he has his heart set on a move to the Nou Camp.
But given Barca’s well-documented financial struggles, if the La Liga giants are unable to put together a financial package that Bayern are happy with, United simply have to pounce and at least try and bring the Pole to Old Trafford.
However, like Ronaldo, Lewandowski will unlikely want to miss out on a season in the Champions League and therefore United may not present an appealing option for the world-class forward.
With the Brazilian’s future in the French capital looking uncertain, Manchester United are inevitably one of the big clubs to be linked with a move for the Paris Saint Germain star.
Like Ronaldo, Neymar is a footballing icon who would no doubt sell a wealth of shirts across the globe, which would thrill the Glazers.
But he isn’t likely the profile of player that Ten Hag would want to build his team around. Signing Neymar could turn out like fellow South Americans Angel di Maria and Alexis Sanchez who had disastrous spells at the Theatre of Dreams.
At the age of 30, the former Barcelona man is no longer at the peak of his powers and regularly struggles with injuries.
Of the five possible Cristiano Ronaldo replacements – Neymar would probably be the least likely and present the highest risk.
The young French forward has been heavily linked with a move to mega-rich Newcastle United in the last two transfer windows, but as of yet a move to Tyneside hasn’t come to fruition as a deal hasn’t been agreed.
The 20-year-old Reims forward scored 10 Ligue 1 goals last season and he’s more likely to be the profile of player that Ten Hag could potentially target if Ronaldo leaves this summer.
The former Ajax manager trusts and builds his teams around talented young players, and Ekitike could join a young United forward line that shares the goals around instead of relying on Ronaldo.
The pacey forward has had a difficult time at Stamford Bridge following his move from the Red Bull Arena two years ago.
Struggling to nail down a place in Thomas Tuchel’s side, the 26-year-old may find game time even harder to come by with Todd Boehly set to splash the clash for the Blues this summer.
The former Stuttgart striker showcased his deadly goalscoring form at Leipzig where he scored 95 goals from 159 games.
Werner’s blistering speed would aid United’s ability to be devastating on the counter attack once again, and he could be revitalised with the chance to play under Ten Hag.