Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is keen to replace Cristiano Ronaldo with a Real Madrid talisman and has even made contact with the star to convince him on the move, according to reports.
Ronaldo is highly likely to depart Old Trafford, potentially before the January transfer window even opens. Following his headline-making interview with Piers Morgan, Man Utd have begun the process of terminating his contract early.
Ten Hag does have Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in his squad, both of whom can play at centre-forward. But Rashford likes to cut inside from left wing, while Martial has never lived up to the hype of his initial £36million transfer in 2015.
Due to these factors, Man Utd will probably go full pelt to try and capture a new goalscorer in 2023. And there are several options available to them.
They include Napoli star Victor Osimhen, Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid and PSV’s Cody Gakpo. Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, has reportedly offered his services to former club Real.
Eye-catching reports are now linking Man Utd with the signing of one of Real’s best players. According to Sports Mole, who cite sources coming out of Spain, Ten Hag is dreaming of landing Vinicius Junior from Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
The Brazilian has been in fantastic form for Real this season, registering 10 goals and five assists in 21 appearances. And his top form spreads further back than this campaign, too.
Last term, Vinicius managed 22 goals and 20 assists in 52 matches. This helped Real to win La Liga, the Champions League and the Spanish super cup.
Ten Hag plots ambitious Real Madrid swoop
Ten Hag has been hugely impressed by Vinicius’ performances in the past few years and would love to work with him at Man Utd.
One issue with the Dutchman wanting Vinicius to replace Ronaldo in attack is the fact the 22-year-old usually plays as a left winger. He rarely features at centre-forward due to him excelling out wide, plus there is the exceptional Karim Benzema.
Perhaps Ten Hag believes Vinicius has the ability to turn himself into a world-class striker.
The report claims Man Utd’s boss has even made contact with the Real star and his agent about a prospective move to the Premier League.
During these talks, Ten Hag will have attempted to sell Man Utd and the Prem to Vinicius. He has also urged the former Flamengo man to reject a potential new Real contract and instead push for a move to the Red Devils.
Vinicius Jr offered pay rise by Man Utd
Man Utd officials have apparently promised Vinicius that he will receive a big pay rise, should he make the switch to them. As per Salary Sport, he currently takes home £186,000 a week at the Bernabeu, so Man Utd would end up paying a huge amount on his wages if they did land him.
While Vinicius would be a fantastic signing for Man Utd, there is little chance of the move going through.
The first reason for this is the positional problem. As mentioned earlier, Vinicius is a winger rather than a true number nine. As such, Ten Hag probably wouldn’t replace Ronaldo with the young Brazilian.
Another factor to consider is the gulf in class between Real and Man Utd. While Ancelotti’s men won two of football’s biggest prizes last season (La Liga and the UCL), Man Utd struggled. They came sixth in the Prem and were knocked out of the UCL in the round of 16.
Admittedly, Man Utd are improving under Ten Hag. But they are still some way off Real as thing stand, meaning there is pretty much no chance of Vinicius completing such a transfer.