Man Utd chiefs have Cristiano Ronaldo transfer theory after agent proposes Chelsea move

Manchester United feel Jorge Mendes is ‘playing games’ after it emerged talks over a deal to take Cristiano Ronaldo to Chelsea took place, reports say. The Portugal international has indicated he’s ready to stay at Old Trafford. But that hasn’t stopped speculation from arising that the 37-year-old could make a surprise g move to Stamford Bridge this summer.

Ronaldo was a shining light for United last season, scoring 24 goals amid a turbulent campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. But his future is currently shrouded in uncertainty amid suggestions the Portugal international is unhappy with the Red Devils’ slow start to the summer transfer window.

Earlier in the week, news broke that Mendes had held talks with new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly about taking his client to the capital this summer. The Blues are on the lookout for a new centre-forward, having allowed Romelu Lukaku to return to Inter Milan after a difficult first year back in west London.

And Goal now say that, behind the scenes, United chiefs think Mendes is ‘playing games’ when it comes to their No 7. There’s a suspicion that Mendes could be trying to get the Red Devils to act on the transfer front, with Frenkie de Jong, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen all in their sights.

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And it’s also possible the super-agent is trying to get one last payday for his client, too. United are adamant Ronaldo won’t be allowed to leave, with the striker having just a year left on his current contract.

Yet the publication says that sources close to the player haven’t ruled out the forward leaving to pursue a new challenge elsewhere. United will be hoping Ronaldo stays to play under Erik ten Hag, who said at his unveiling in May that the veteran would bring guaranteed goals to his team.

They do, however, have plans to strengthen their attack. Initially, United had been eyeing a new striker - with Rangnick, Ten Hag and John Murtough apparently identifying that area as a ‘must’ for this summer.

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But they’re now poised to swoop for a ‘versatile’ forward instead with Antony one of their targets. Ajax won’t let the Brazil international leave on the cheap, however, with a fee close to £70million being quoted by some publications.

United had been in the mix to land Darwin Nunez, only for the 22-year-old to end up leaving Benfica for Liverpool instead.

And they’ve also missed out on Erling Haaland, with the Norway international opting to join fierce rivals Manchester City over Borussia Dortmund. Ronaldo is set to play down the middle as United’s first-choice centre-forward next term.

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Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford could then play on the flanks, despite the duo struggling for consistency last term. And Amad and Facundo Pellistri may then be used as back-ups, with the duo arriving from Atalanta and Penarol back in the summer transfer window of 2020.

Regarding Ronaldo, meanwhile, Jamie Carragher said last month that the Red Devils would be wise to cut the centre-forward loose.

Speaking before talk of a potential move to Chelsea arose, he said: “I’m convinced [Ten Hag] has got to do it with Ronaldo. I’m convinced. Whether he’s allowed to or not, and I’ve said this consistently through this season, that was not a good signing.

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“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time, and I’m seen as the guy that’s criticising Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s a miles better player than I was; I couldn’t even lace his boots, obviously. But I’m not saying that to be disrespectful to him - he’s amazing.

“Ronaldo has never played in a team this bad. He’s always played for great teams. His attitude of trying to be the main man, getting the goals, driving people on; when you’re in a great team, they’re seen as positives.

“When you’re not playing for a great team, it can be seen as a negative, and I think it has been a negative this season. Man United can’t go into next season with a forward who’s going to be 38. Even if he does score goals, that’s not right for Man United - one of the biggest clubs in the world.”

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