Man Utd ‘make phone calls over Cristiano Ronaldo replacements’ in new transfer twist

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Manchester United have made phone calls over potential Cristiano Ronaldo replacements, according to reports. The Portugal international has rocked the Red Devils by demanding to leave providing a suitable offer arrives. He wants to play in the Champions League at the age of 37, mindful he doesn’t have too many years at the top left in his locker despite his obvious talents.

Manchester United were taken aback when it emerged last weekend that Ronaldo was looking to leave.

The veteran had previously indicated he’d be willing to hang around for the Erik ten Hag era, having scored 24 goals under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last term.

But Ronaldo wants to play in the Champions League, something United can’t offer after they finished sixth in the Premier League table last term.

The 37-year-old has been linked with a move to Chelsea, who are hopeful of landing the Portugal international as a replacement for Romelu Lukaku.

And The Athletic say United have now placed some phone calls as they start to prepare for a future that doesn’t feature their No 7.

Ronaldo’s goals fired the Red Devils into Europe last term but there’s also a sense his Hollywood homecoming disrupted the harmony within the squad.

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Younger players, such as Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, struggled to take the spotlight with Ronaldo taking it all for himself.

No names are mentioned by the publication when it comes to successors at centre-forward, despite United now beginning to look at replacements.

Yet it’ll be interesting to see who United sign given none of their current forwards are proven as specialists playing down the middle.

Rashford scored eight goals when he was deployed as a central striker during Louis van Gaal’s time in the dugout.

However, the England international has developed into a winger in the years since – playing on the left under both Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho in recent years.

Sancho, too, is better out wide than he is playing at the tip of the Red Devils’ attack.

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And while Anthony Martial scored 23 goals for United when being used as a No 9 in the 2019/2020 season, the France international has endured an alarming dip in form in the time since.

Antony could be one option for United, with Ten Hag previously managing the Brazil international at Ajax.

Any deal won’t come cheap, though, with the Dutch giants demanding a fee close to £70million in order to let go of their prized asset.

Brian Brobbey has also been linked with a move to United, having scored seven league goals for Ajax under Ten Hag last term.

Ajax want to land the 20-year-old permanently this summer, having seen him do well on loan, but United could hijack the deal late in the day.

Publicly, the Red Devils are adamant that Ronaldo won’t be going anywhere – despite also being linked with the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

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Yet with the 37-year-old in the spotlight, United may end up jettisoning him so they can start afresh.

United would prefer for Ronaldo to leave for a European club this summer, rather than a direct Premier League rival.

However, that’s unlikely to stop Chelsea from eyeing a deal with Blues owner Todd Boehly aware Ronaldo would be a significant signing at the start of his Stamford Bridge reign.

Meanwhile, Piers Morgan recently said Ronaldo was ‘sick and tired’ of the culture at United following ‘a lot of chats’ with the forward.

“I’ve had a lot of chats with him about this and I know that his frustration has been boiling and boiling and boiling throughout the year,” he said.

“Remember, he came to Manchester United again because he believed that he could win things with them and believed that he was going to be a missing cog in the wheel and they’d not only qualify for the Champions League, but that they might even win the league.

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“I think he was incredibly disappointed by the general level of dedication, hard graft, enthusiasm and will to win, not to mention the hunger of that Man United squad. Particularly some of the younger players.

“He gave quite a cryptic interview at the start of the year when he said that when he was a teenager at United he was constantly asking advice from Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand – all of these older, brilliant players who were there.

“He was soaking up the advice but I got the impression from the interview that he gave that he’s not been getting that at United. They don’t really want to hear it.

“When you look at those younger United players, there’s a lot of talent there but do they have anything like the drive needed, which comes from within, as Ronaldo says.

“He ended up scoring 24 goals last season, 18 in the league, second behind Son and Salah. He scored one more league goal than Harry Kane who is nearly 10 years younger than him.

“This guy is supposedly supposed to be the problem at Manchester United. He’s not the problem, and he’s going to leave, I think, because he’s absolutely sick and tired of having to carry that squad.”

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