Phase two of Man Utd ‘masterplan’ tipped to pair Ronaldo with fearsome partner

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Newcastle. September 11 2021.

A Man Utd ‘masterplan’ has been speculated that could result in Cristiano Ronaldo being partnered with a fearsome forward in 2022.

The Portuguese icon returned to Old Trafford with a bang on Saturday. Ronaldo bagged a brace to help sink Newcastle 4-1. He followed that up with a Champions League goal against Young Boys on Tuesday night in what turned out to be a shock defeat in Switzerland.

Upon signing from Juventus, Ronaldo penned a two-year deal with the club retaining an option for a third.

But already at age 36 and with Edinson Cavani 34, United could seek another superstar forward in the next few windows. Indeed, our players ratings article gave Ronaldo a healthy score versus Young Boys, but did acknowledge a headache Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will now be fully aware of.

Mason Greenwood could make a central role his own, but ex-Man Utd midfielder Luke Chadwick believes Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland could be the answer.

The 21-year-old has operated at exactly one goal per game since moving to Germany in 2020. But with a reported release clause of around £70m activating next summer, a slew of potential suitors are expected to contest a frantic transfer battle.

And speaking to Caught Offside, Chadwick revealed he would not be surprised to see Haaland line up alongside Ronaldo next season.

“I think for this season you wouldn’t swap Ronaldo for anyone,” Chadwick said. “But I understand that Haaland would probably be signed on a five/six year contract and would hopefully do it over that period of time.

Ones To Watch - Manchester United

We select the player we believe to keep a close eye on over the season for Manchester United.

“We’ll see how Cristiano goes this season. There’s still the opportunity [to sign Haaland], I don’t think Haaland was ever going to go anywhere this summer, so perhaps there’s still that opportunity.

“The way that Haaland speaks about Cristiano as well… It might all be part of a masterplan for him to come in next summer.”

Man Utd are expected to be among those vying for the Norwegian’s signature next year. One advantage they could hold over their rivals stems from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Man Utd boss managed Haaland when their spells at Molde overlapped between 2017-18.

Seven iconic goal celebrations, including Ronaldo, Adebayor and Sturridge

Neville predicts Man Utd Prem finish

Meanwhile, Gary Neville feels two teams will finish above United in the Premier League this season despite Ronaldo’s return.

Despite the former Real Madrid man being back in the ranks, Neville believes United will come up short.

“He does make the team better. I think he makes them more likely to win the title than I thought three weeks ago,” he Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football programme.

“Something inside me tells me that I don’t think he will quite make them win the title this season. And it’s Chelsea and it’s City, just in terms of team.”

And Neville wishes he could turn the clock back to a younger version of the forward.

Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers

“The introduction of Ronaldo at 36 as a penalty-box striker, which is what he is. I don’t think will make them a complete enough team to win the title,” he added.

“If Cristiano Ronaldo was seven or eight years younger and was still at that level that he was at Real Madrid, I believe he’d be able to take them to the title or to the Champions League. He is a very, very special individual and an unbelievable star.”

READ MORE: Arsenal, Man Utd among throng watching next German wonderkid