Man Utd have the key to beating Real Madrid to Erling Haaland after Cristiano Ronaldo move

Manchester United confirm Cristiano Ronaldo return

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Manchester United could hold the key to signing Erling Haaland next summer despite securing the return of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Premier League giants will be expected to join the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City in a race to sign the Borussia Dortmund striker when his £68million release clause becomes active.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side look to have made the game-changing signing many fans had been calling for after persuading Ronaldo to return to the club where he established himself as a world class talent.

It was widely observed that United needed a top-class striker to turn them into contenders for the top honours – and they don’t come any better than five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo.

In swooping for Ronaldo, the Red Devils have also dealt a blow to neighbours Man City, who appeared to be closing in on the Portuguese superstar’s signature until an intervention from legendary Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

But the return of a club legend shouldn’t stop United from targeting Haaland in next summer’s transfer window when the Norwegian hotshot’s £68million release clause will have become active.

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It has been fascinating to see where the world’s top forwards would end up this summer, with Lionel Messi having joined PSG, Chelsea signing Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane staying at Tottenham after City’s failed pursuit, and Madrid now targeting Kylian Mbappe.

But next summer should see the fate of Haaland decided after Dortmund made it clear the 21-year-old would stay for at the Westfalenstadion for least another campaign.

United’s move for Ronaldo could be viewed as the perfect stepping stone towards bringing in Haaland.

Were he to join Solskjaer’s side next summer, he would have a season to learn from one of the greatest forwards of all time, before stepping into his shoes as the next generational talent.

And United could have a fresh advantage over Madrid and Man City in the race to sign the prolific goal machine, after it was reported on Saturday that they had struck a deal with Dortmund over Diogo Dalot.

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The Red Devils have agreed to a season-long loan with an obligation to buy which will see the right-back head to the Bundesliga, according to Sky Germany.  

Dalot doesn’t appear to have a future at United, with the club reportedly targeting Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier to provide competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

If he joins Dortmund it will provide him with an escape route from Old Trafford – as well as allowing United the chance to enhance their relationship with the Bundesliga club.

Solskjaer’s side have of course already signed Jadon Sancho from BVB, after he struck up a gentleman’s agreement with the club that he could leave this summer, having been pursued by United a year ago.

And negotiations over Dalot could allow United the chance to repeat the trick with Haaland – potentially giving them the edge of their rivals.

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Haaland further enhances his chances of a big move next summer by scoring an injury-time winner in Dortmund’s 3-2 victory over Hoffenheim on Friday.

The goal took his tally to an incredible 63 in 64 games in all competitions for the German side, who he joined from RB Salzburg in January last year after United had been favourites to sign him.

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