Manchester United director of football John Murtough and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are understood to have reached an agreement over their next No 1 transfer objective – but any move will reportedly be against the best wishes of Cristiano Ronaldo.
United have made a relatively steady start to the new season and lie two points behind leaders Chelsea after seven games. Still, it could have been much better but for dropped points at home to first Aston Villa and then Everton. It was the frustration of an Old Trafford draw with the Toffees that caused Ronaldo to storm off the field, leaving Rio Ferdinand to explain the situation.
Having spent well over £100m this summer on Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, United will be expected to end their five-year trophy wait.
Nonetheless, the spending is unlikely to end any time soon, with a January deal for Declan Rice reportedly getting the green light.
And while the England man is very much in their thinking for 2022, their No 1 focus still remains the signing of a new attacker.
With Edinson Cavani, 34, likely to leave, United have set their sets on Erling Haaland.
Haaland, 21, is the most sought-after player in world football due to his exploits in front of goal. The Norway international hit 28 goals from 22 appearances for Red Bull Salzburg in 2019-2020. Those numbers turned many heads but he shunned the biggest clubs to join BVB for around €20m in January 2020.
The Scandinavian made a seamless transition to the Bundesliga, notching 13 goals from 15 top-flight appearances. He then found the net 27 times in the league and bagged 41 goals from as many outings last term.
However, this season looks likely to be his last in the Bundesliga. That’s after his agent Mino Raiola inseredt a release clause of around £68m in his deal. That becomes active in summer 2022.
And with a plethora of clubs keen, the Manchester Evening News claims Murtough and Solskjaer are in agreement that United should make Haaland their top priority.
And with Haaland knowing Solskjaer well from their time together at Molde, they will be hopeful of striking a deal.
However, the Daily Express claims any move for Haaland could potentially upset Ronaldo.
While he will be 37 by the time next season rolls around. His deal at Old Trafford will also still have a year left to run. Furthermore, he reckons he continue playing effectively until he’s 40.
And any deal for Haaland will likely see his place in the side come under serious threat.
Ronaldo wants Chiesa signing
Furthermore, the paper claims the Portuguese star would also prefer United to target Federicho Chiesa.
The Italy forward played with Ronaldo at Juventus and knows the player well.
Having become an integral player for Juventus over the last two seasons, Chiesa also finds himself a wanted man.
He recorded 15 goals and 11 assists in 46 games last season. He’s up and running this campaign too, having already scored twice.
As such, Ronaldo is reportedly urging Solskjaer and Murtough to make Chiesa their top focus next summer.
Any deal for Chiesa though is likely to be just as complex, with the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool also keen.
However, Ronaldo’s relationship with Chiesa could give them the edge should they choose to pursue a deal.