Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is thought to be open to selling Cristiano Ronaldo before the transfer window slams shut on September 1, according to reports. The Portugal international has worried team-mates with his behaviour since linking up with the rest of the squad, having missed pre-season. And he’s been unable to find the net in matches against the likes of Brighton and Brentford so far.
Ten Hag has previously been keen to keep hold of Ronaldo, despite the 37-year-old’s desire to leave for a team playing in the Champions League.
But The Athletic say the 52-year-old is now open to cutting the veteran loose, even if it would leave the club short on players up top.
United have already lost Edinson Cavani this summer, while Mason Greenwood remains unavailable for selection having last featured in a 1-0 win over West Ham back in January.
And, now, Ronaldo could be about to be shown the door.
The report says there are days where the Portugal international eats lunch alone in the Carrington training complex canteen, isolating himself from his team-mates.
It’s also claimed he’s been seen flapping his arms about in training, while also attempting to argue against Ten Hag’s high-pressing approach.
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Some sources close to United, who do not want to be named, have claimed Ronaldo has been indulged far too much by the club.
And though they’re yet to receive any formal offer in the forward, the Red Devils are willing to negotiate Ronaldo’s exit if the right bid comes in.
Chelsea have previously been linked, though it’s believed Thomas Tuchel is against the idea of swooping the former Juventus and Real Madrid star.
Bayern Munich were tipped to pursue Ronaldo earlier in the summer but the Bundesliga giants have since ruled themselves out of the running to land the Portugal international.
And though a move to Atletico Madrid was mooted, the La Liga giants appear to lack the finances required to strike a deal.
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Ronaldo appeared to ignore Ten Hag after the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brentford on Saturday night.
And he also didn’t react positively to coach Steve McClaren asking him to thank the fans in the away end for their support.
The report adds that there’s a feeling within United that they are ‘psychologically scarred by their collective experiences as a team.’.
And whether Ronaldo hangs around to try and drag the club back to where they used to be is something only time will tell.
One thing that doesn’t appear to be on the table, however, is terminating Ronaldo’s contract.
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Reports on Sunday claimed the Portugal international could be cut loose amid the club’s frustration at the way he’s handling himself behind the scenes.
Yet United have dismissed those rumours as ‘false’ and, publicly at least, continue to stress the 37-year-old isn’t for sale.
Speaking recently, meanwhile, former Red Devils defender Jaap Stam insisted Ronaldo was still a player worth keeping at Old Trafford.
The centre-back, who flourished during his four years in Manchester, said: “I was hoping that Ronaldo was going to stay because I think he could be very important for the club. I think Ronaldo is still one of the best players at United.
“Even when he’s not scoring, he’s always making the opposition aware of him and they always need to pay him a lot of attention which creates opportunities and space for other players.
“I assume that Ten Hag spoke with him about the new season. I don’t know exactly what happened, but it looks like Ronaldo wants to make a move and play somewhere else next season, which I think is a shame.
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“If the player has said that he wants to leave, although it’s very tough for the manager and for the club and especially for the fans, then the situation doesn’t need to drag on that long.
“United need to make a decision as a club and find a way to deal with his departure.
“The manager needs to build his squad and understand who he will be working with.
“United don’t want to be in a situation where they have been using other players up front, and those players that have been performing are all of a sudden dropped because Ronaldo didn’t get his move and he needs to play.
“You then have a situation where a player that has been agitating for a move all summer, who hasn’t featured in preseason or trained starting games, and that will create problems in the United squad.
“Eventually you need to make a decision.”
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