Manchester United are prepared to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to leave this summer and have identified Benfica’s Darwin Nunez as a perfect replacement. The Red Devils have also joined Arsenal in the race to sign Norwich City full-back Max Aarons and the club’s original eight-man shortlist to replace interim manager Ralf Rangnick has been revealed.
TEN HAG GREEN LIGHTS RONALDO SALE
Cristiano Ronaldo has been given the green light to leave Manchester United this summer by incoming manager Erik ten Hag. The current Ajax boss has approved the plans, with the Star stating that Ten Hag does not view Ronaldo as part of his long-term plans at Old Trafford. Ronaldo returned to his former club in spectacular style last summer and United have the option to extend his deal by an additional year, but the two parties are willing to part ways after a disappointing campaign which has seen United (most likely) miss out on Champions League qualification.
Paper Round’s view: Ronaldo returned to Manchester United in the hope that he would bring silverware to Old Trafford. He viewed himself as the Prodigal Son, but realistically he struggled to find any consistent form and even found himself as a role player at points under interim manager Ralf Rangnick. United need to sign a promising striker for the future. It makes no sense having Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani as part of a long-term project. The club should invest in a young and hungry centre-forward who is ready to carry in to United into a new era. It seems like they may have found the perfect player…
MAN UTD’S ‘NUMBER ONE TARGET’ TO REPLACE RONALDO
Manchester United have made Benfica striker Darwin Nunez their “number one target” to sign this summer. The Mirror reveal that the Red Devils were impressed by the 22-year-old’s performance at Anfield in the Champions League on Wednesday. Nunez is reported to have moved into the position of being United’s top transfer target because Harry Kane is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur after former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino missed out on the vacant role at Old Trafford. United will face fierce competition for Nunez this summer, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain all interested in the Uruguay international.
Paper Round’s view: United’s failure of a season has meant that they have been forced to adjust their summer transfer policy. It is now expected that Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Old Trafford due to a disappointing campaign and the club have no chance of competing for Erling Haaland if they fail to qualify for the Champions League. Nunez will obviously have ambitions of playing in Europe’s top-tier competition, but a club on United’s level should feel confident that they can sell him the long-term project. The 22-year-old may be convinced if they promise he will be a key figure in their rebuild and title ambitions.
MAN UTD JOIN BATTLE TO SIGN NORWICH FULL-BACK
Manchester United have joined Arsenal in the race to sign Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, according to the Sun. The England U-21 international has two years remaining on his contract and could be sold this summer as Norwich look to bring in finances if they are relegated from the Premier League. United are looking at signing a new right-back as the club want a back-up for Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Bundesliga duo Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are also interested in the £20-million rated Norwich defender, while Roma and Barcelona have held interest in the past.
Paper Round’s view: Aarons has been highly rated for a while and has now had two spells in the Premier League for Norwich. He has proved himself as impressive, but not outstanding, and is still only 22 years old. However, United need to add a quality right-back who is ready to take their place in the starting team. Wan-Bissaka has done nothing to prove himself as a starter for a club with Manchester United’s ambitions and he needs fierce competition to push himself to start performing again. Will Aarons bring that quality? He might be just below that level. Unfortunately, Newcastle United’s Kieran Trippier may have been that perfect signing in the winter transfer window.
REVEALED: THE EIGHT-MAN SHORTLIST TO REPLACE RANGNICK
The Mail reveal that Manchester United had eight managers on their shortlist to replace interim boss Ralf Rangnick. The Premier League club seem to have settled on Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag, but there were a number of other coaches considered for the role. United’s football director John Murtough compiled a “final four-man shortlist”, which consisted of Ten Hag, Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique and Julen Lopetegui. However, Thomas Tuchel, Brendan Rodgers, Zinedine Zidane and Julian Nagelsmann were also considered.
Paper Round’s view: The list of managers makes a lot of sense. United are looking for an experienced coach with a clear playing style to take the reins on a long-term basis. The final four were probably the coaches who the club thought were more realistic options. However, Enrique ruled himself out of that due to his decision to stick with Spain ahead of the World Cup this winter. It seems like the final two were Ten Hag and Pochettino and we won’t know whether United made the correct decision for a while. It’s a huge job for Ten Hag – who needs to sign and sell players, implement an attractive brand of football and bring a winning mentality back to Old Trafford.