Cristiano Ronaldo, unexpectedly, may depart Manchester United this summer. Ronaldo, now 37, faces the prospect of not playing in the Champions League this season if he doesn’t depart the club after returning to Manchester United last summer.
The transfer window will only be open for the next couple of weeks, and Ronaldo’s potential departure will be one of the biggest stories before the start of the season. Manchester United will reportedly try to convince Ronaldo to stay, but if another team signs him this summer they could become favorites for the Champions League.
Where Could Ronaldo Play Next Season
Ronaldo could still play next season at Manchester United, and that may be the most likely outcome. Finding a potential transfer destination with only a couple of weeks left before the beginning of the season may be unlikely.
If Ronaldo were to depart, even if it may be unlikely, there are a few obvious potential destinations. Bayern Munich may be the most logical destination. Robert Lewandowski is likely to leave the Bundesliga champions, and he will almost certainly play at Barcelona next season.
Ronaldo would be a good replacement for Lewandowski. He would provide Champions League experience and great goal-scoring abilities at both the league and European levels. However, Bayern Munich is unlikely to pursue Ronaldo even after Lewandowski’s departure.
Chelsea was reportedly another candidate to sign Ronaldo as Thomas Tuchel hopes to strengthen the club’s attack this summer. However, as with Bayern Munich, Chelsea is reportedly unlikely to pursue Ronaldo this summer.
Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are two other options as potential transfer destinations, but as with the other teams listed, neither are likely to pursue Ronaldo before the end of the transfer window.
As a result, it is unclear where Ronaldo will spend his season next year. He may depart Manchester United this summer, or he could remain at the club next season and play in the Europa League.
What a Potential Ronaldo Departure Would Mean for United
If Ronaldo did depart Manchester United, it would leave the team in desperate need of a forward. Ten Hag would have only a few weeks to complete a signing for a new center forward to ensure Manchester United’s attack could help the team compete to finish in the Top 4 next year.
Manchester United contemplated pursuing Antony earlier in the transfer window, but the team’s pursuit of the Ajax forward has not advanced. As a result, if Ronaldo departed the team soon, Manchester United would have only a few weeks to identify a transfer target, make an initial proposal, and complete a signing and a medical for the player.
Anthony Martial returned from a loan at Sevilla this summer. He has scored in both of Manchester United’s friendlies so far this preseason, but in the past has preferred to play on the wing. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Anthony Elanga all also prefer to play as a winger, although Rashford has experience playing as a center-forward in the past.
If Ronaldo departs, Ten Hag and Manchester United could choose to play with a more flexible group of forwards that rotates through all three positions. Rashford, Sancho, and Martial could all start and play at all three forward positions during the course of a game.
However, even if Manchester United and Ten Hag did utilize their forward group in this way the club would still need to add another forward to increase the squad’s depth. Rashford, Sancho, Martial, and Elanga are the only forwards in the squad with significant Premier League experience, and young players such as Shola Shoretire, Alejandro Garnacho, and Tahith Chong are training with the team but are still at the beginning of their careers.
Ronaldo’s departure would have a massive impact on Manchester United and the Premier League overall. United would need to adjust and make a forward signing before the end of the transfer window on September 1, and Ronaldo’s move could have a massive impact on the outcome of the Champions League.