Marcus Rashford may take the place of Cristiano Ronaldo up front after a pundit claimed Liverpool and Man City’s early business has left the striker pot bare.
Ronaldo is reportedly open to leaving Manchester United if a Champions League contender comes calling. Bayern Munich, Napoli and Chelsea have been touted as potential landing spots. United insist they won’t sell, though a sulking Ronaldo is the last thing Erik ten Hag needs in his first season at the helm.
The Mirror reported Ten Hag will pressure the United board into signing Ajax winger Anthony if Ronaldo does depart.
That would suggest the Dutch boss is either seeking a more mobile front three, or is happy with the alternative options he has already.
Given Edinson Cavani has left as a free agent, United’s central striking options are down to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Mason Greenwood remains absent indeifnitely.
Now, speaking on Sky Sports News, pundit and transfer expert, Mark McAdam, explained why a Ronaldo exit could make Rashford the main man.
But first, McAdam cast his eye over United’s transfer window thus far, and suggested a Frenkie de Jong breakthrough isn’t far off.
Ailing Utd window about to change?
“It’s quite important to point out that Manchester United and Eric ten Hag’s stance is that Ronaldo is not for sale,” said the Sky source.
“Ten Hag wants to work with Ronaldo and sees him as a part of his squad. He said in a press conference not too long ago, what will he bring? He will bring goals and that’s absolutely what you can almost guarantee with Cristiano Ronaldo.
“If he’s fit and plays every single game, there’s no chance he’s not going to finish with 20 plus goals.
“Their transfer philosophy at the moment hasn’t come to plan; things just haven’t worked out. We’re already into pre-season. Players are back in training and there are no new faces in that squad and there has been a lot of big name departures.
“They are linked with a number of players and they are getting close to making their first signings as well. Frenkie de Jong and Barcelona – we know that talks have been ongoing for the last few weeks.
“A deal is essentially there as a basic deal to work from, so they’re not a million miles away from getting something formalised.”
Nunez, Haaland deals leave well dry
Regarding Ronaldo, McAdam pointed to the fact three high profile centre-forwards have all changed clubs in the last six months.
Two have moved to Liverpool and Man City, thus depleting the striker pool United could fish in.
McAdam continued: “Clearly, when you lose a player of Ronaldo’s quality – someone that knows how to score, someone that’s got huge experience – that’s a position that’s really difficult to strengthen.
“And when you look at some of the biggest best strikers in European football at the moment, Erling Haaland already moved to Manchester City, Darwin Nunez already moved to Liverpool, Dusan Vlahovic already moved to Juventus.
“Therefore, where do Manchester United go to find the man that can guarantee them 20 plus goals this season when some of the biggest strikers in the game have already made their moves? And that’s going to be one of their big problems this summer.
“If they let Ronaldo go, which they don’t want to do, who do they replace him with?
“Suddenly Marcus Rashford might find a whole heap of pressure on his shoulders. It is going to be fascinating to see how this plays out.”
Ronaldo exit may be blessing in disguise
The Portuguese icon lived up to the billing last term, bagging 24 goals across all competitions.
However, the team as a whole regressed with Ronaldo there. Indeed, United amassed their lowest ever points tally in the Premier League era and conceded their highest number of goals.
While it would be foolish to say Ronaldo was wholly to blame for either of those statistics, many within the media – including Jamie Carragher – are insistent he’s played a part.
The pundit has gone back and forth on Twitter with Red Devils legend Gary Neville in debating the Ronaldo saga.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 2, 2022