Cristiano Ronaldo is always a hot pick when it comes to news headlines. But this time, he is in the news with Manchester United for the wrong reasons.
Yes, he is leaving.
Ever since the July transfer window opened, there has been speculation about Ronaldo leaving the club after United failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. To the disappointment of everyone who purchased Manchester United tickets, it feels like this might be coming through after United’s disastrous start to this year’s season.
Last season was a completely different story. The demand for Manchester United tickets was spiralling up after it was announced that the Portuguese legend was making a return to Old Trafford.
In 2022, it is the complete opposite. After United lost 4-0 to Brentford in the second week, Ronaldo is desperate to exit the club that groomed him in the 2000s under Sir Alex Ferguson. After the devastating loss, a disappointed Ronaldo was seen walking through the tunnel, even without acknowledging the visiting fans.
Erik Ten Hang is having the worst start as a new manager at Manchester United in nearly a century but will soon have another problem with Ronaldo gone. The site has not been doing any good in the transfer window this season, and it would put the team in an extremely tight spot.
The Ronaldo situation
The Portugal international was quite clear in his intentions. He had asked the club to accept any considerable offer from any club, with him declaring his intentions to play Champions League football at all costs.
While United has insisted that Ronaldo is not for sale, he has not brought out his true self in the red shirt.
The Brentford loss was an insult to injury.
If United successfully sells Ronaldo, it will mean that the side will desperately need a top-class forward joining them before the window is closed. Else, the side will be without a striker until the January transfer window.
Here’s a look at five possible options for United as a Ronaldo replacement in the next few weeks.
One of the serious concerns at United is the budget constraints, with much of their spending revolving around the other parts of the squad.
United are with high hopes of signing Ajax winger Anthony but matching the style, and the class of Ronaldo is going to cost them more. Currently, Antony is priced at around £50m.
United has been behind Neymar for years and has relentlessly tried to get the services of the Brazilian at Old Trafford. Ex-executive vice chairman, Ed Woodward, was persistent in getting Neymar, but the board has shown little action with Neymar.
Currently, at PSG, Neymar had earlier intended that he wanted to leave, but there has been no progress from the clubs that were interested in him. There were reports of Chelsea closing in, but that deal was later rescinded from the Blues.
For Neymar, who is looking to win back his form, United would be an ideal platform, but there are doubts if he would suit Ten Hag’s pressing system – much like Ronaldo.
But based on the early games with PSG, Neymar looks happy at PSG and would want to build on a new partnership with his age-old pal Lionel Messi.
Discarded Chelsea striker ignited his career at Roma under Jose Mourinho, scoring a total of 27 goals across all competition. There was a feeling that Chelsea failed to do justice for Abraham, but the move found him getting a grasp on professional football with adequate game time.
Abraham is no stranger to Premier League, but there are concerns if he could replicate finishing at the highest level at the Premier League. At 24 years, he is still a growing talent but could fit in well with United and be their saviour.
There has been quite the buzz around Tammy Abraham with fans who purchase Manchester United tickets, and they feel like someone with the likes of Abraham could be part of the solution. United failed to score a single goal in their opening two games, and the ex-Blues striker can be an ideal solution.
However, it also comes down to the individual if he intends to play for the Reds in the first place. Earlier, we saw Frenkie De Jong rejecting United even after FC Barcelona agreed on the transfer fee.
Playing for Everton, Calvert-Lewin has shown steady progress and has even caught the eyes of English coach Gareth Southgate to be a cover for Kane at the upcoming FIFA World Cup. The question lies if he could fit into this depleted United side and bring in change from the very first minute.
At best, he has the ability to outrun defenders and score, but it might be questionable when United starts to play the big sides such as City and Liverpool.
But in all good faith, he could be an ideal regular who could contribute to the team’s success – United does not even have that right now.
Still, it is highly unlikely that Everton would let go of him after the exit of Richarlison.
From the look of things, it feels like none of the deals would be going United’s way, and the best they could do is to fill the position internally. For Marcus Rashford, things haven’t been too good lately with him not reaching expectations, and this could be a breakthrough season for him.
If Ronaldo leaves and they cannot fill in a top-tier striker, he will be forced to be moved to centre-forward, despite his preference to play a role on the left wing.
Rashford was seen as the wonder kid but couldn’t reach his potential. As much he wouldn’t prefer playing at centre forward, the call might be coming for Rashford to sub in for Ronaldo.
Almost everyone who purchased Manchester United tickets this season was happy to see Antony Martial getting his act together in the preseason. After getting loaned out to Sevilla, he made his United return in the build-up to the league, only to be injured.
While the hamstring injury could take months to recover, Martial will most likely fill in the centre-forward role in the second half of the season. But there are several questions raised on where United will be mid-season, looking at the state they are in right now.
For Martial, it is a test for time. If he is fit anytime earlier, he could be the saviour.
For once, Man UTD tickets aren’t selling as it was expected to. But, with expectations of a strong fight back, there’s already no single ticket available for fans on the official platforms.
But, any fan could be checking the trusted reseller platforms to get their entry to Old Trafford or any other United game easily.