Rangnick pushed for Ronaldo sale in January as Man Utd dig heels in amid Ten Hag hope

Date published: Monday 4th July 2022 9:21 - Will Ford

Man Utd boss Ralf Rangnick hugs Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United would “liberate” his teammates but the club remain adamant he’s not for sale, as his agent Jorge Mendes ‘sounds out’ Chelsea.

Ronaldo is due back at Carrington for his first Manchester United training session under Erik ten Hag on Monday, but the revelation on Saturday evening that the 37-year-old wants to leave the club means he may not experience the Dutch manager’s new six-point regime.

READ MORE: Ronaldo: an early test of Chelsea’s rebuild while allowing Man United to start theirs

The Athletic claim the club expect Ronaldo to see out the final 12 months of his contract and hope a first face-to-face meeting with Ten Hag will be enough to change his mind.

Losing Ronaldo was not part of the plan as ‘his position was not considered to be a priority when United drew up their list of areas to target this summer’.

They don’t have the finances to replace a player with his goalscoring pedigree and backed out of a bidding war with Liverpool for Darwin Nunez as they assumed Ronaldo would remain for the coming season.

Ralf Rangnick said in his interim spell with United that no player should be kept against his will and, according to The Athletic, he made his case more vehemently in private.

The report states:

‘On more than one occasion Rangnick proposed to football director John Murtough and chief executive officer Richard Arnold that Ronaldo be sold, and replaced, during the January transfer window. There were said to be several emails and messages on this topic.’

‘Rangnick felt that as Ronaldo’s time at United was uncertain beyond the end of the season, it made sense to act sooner rather than later to reconfigure the side’s attack. Additionally, Rangnick believed Ronaldo did not represent United’s long-term success and that recruiting a player more suited to his high-pressing style might produce immediate dividends for the second half of the campaign. Murtough and Arnold resisted.’

Additionally, sources told The Athletic that Ronaldo’s exit would “liberate” some of the United players as his presence has ‘inhibited those around him’.

There are doubts as to whether Ronaldo already has a move lined up as it’s difficult to see takers given his £500,000 a week wages, his age and the apparent effect he has on his teammates.

The Sun claim Mendes has ‘sounded out’ Chelsea, who are his only option in England, but Thomas Tuchel is ‘unlikely to be as enthused at the prospect of bringing Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge as new owner Todd Boehly’.

Paris Saint-Germain have said they “don’t want flashy, bling-bling any more”, Bayern Munich are a ‘non-starter’, and while Napoli have also been linked, their owner Aurelio De Laurentiis dismissed the idea of signing Edinson Cavani because “Signing a goalkeeper at 34, 35, 36 is fine, signing a striker that age isn’t.”

Ronaldo is due to spend a few days in Carrington before flying to Bangkok for a 16-day pre-season tour on Friday.

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