Raphael Varane relishing Manchester United challenge
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Manchester United have once again been linked with Cristiano Ronaldo this summer – although as opposed to previous years, a deal this summer may not be as far fetched as one might think.
Ronaldo graced the hallowed turf of Old Trafford from 2003-2009, scoring 118 goals in 292 games in his six seasons at the Theatre of Dreams.
After departing for Real Madrid for a then-world record fee, the Portuguese captain shot to legendary status, winning four Champions Leagues along the way.
However, he hasn’t won it in Turin yet, sparking rumours that he is looking for an exit at the Juventus Stadium.
Although United may be hard pressed to stump up the fee needed for another attacker, they can’t turn down the chance to sign a once fan favourite – meaning they could opt for a swap instead.
Here, Express Sport take a look at three potential swaps United chiefs could opt for.
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Donny van de Beek
A player who has been frozen out of United’s side and a player who wants to leave Juventus could be the perfect players to swap.
Van de Beek was billed as an exciting young talent – making his name in the Ajax class of 2019, he hasn’t quite hit the heights that Matthijs de Ligt, Frankie de Jong or Hakim Ziyech have for Juventus, Barcelona and Chelsea respectively.
Scoring on his debut looked like a sign of things to come, but for whatever reason he hasn’t been Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred choice; with the Norwegian opting for Fred, Nemanja Matic or Scott McTominay instead of the Dutchman.
Having cost £40million and being at the age of just 24, you would be forgiven for thinking that van de Beek would hold his value.
Yet, with Juventus reportedly wanting just £25m for Ronaldo, and the Italians having a focus upon youth in midfield, it could be the perfect match.
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Dalot is a player who despite showing obvious qualities, has never had a fair crack of the whip at Old Trafford.
Bought from Porto for £19m in 2018, Dalot has certainly impressed in the majority of games he has played in for United in his three-year spell.
A loan spell to AC Milan was commissioned in October for the Portugal international, and after playing 33 games for the Rossoneri, he has finally landed back in the north west.
Yet, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw securing first-team spots, and Alex Telles able to cover on the bench, Dalot could be used as a makeweight for Ronaldo’s return.
With only Alex Sandro as a senior left-back in Turin, there is a gap for an experienced long-term replacement, with the Brazilian now at the age of 30.
The curious case of Martial is one that continues to perplex many a United fan.
Bought for a huge £36m fee considering he was just nineteen, the striker impressed in his first season, scoring 11 goals in 31 games. Yet from here, the Monaco starlet faded.
In fact, since then, the striker has scored just 44 goals in 138 games – less than one in three, and a worse record than Burnley’s Chris Wood.
It certainly isn’t deserving of a potential £58m fee – although the add-ons that were agreed in the fee with Monaco likely haven’t been reached.
Yet, with just Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata in their ranks – the latter only on loan – Juve need to lower the average age of their strike force – in which a deal for Martial would be worth their while.
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