Cristiano Ronaldo: Chelsea playing ‘game of poker’ as door on sensational deadline-day transfer left ajar

·3-min read
Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd August 2022 Credit: PA Images
Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd August 2022 Credit: PA Images

Chelsea are believed to be playing “a game of poker” regarding a last-ditch move for want-away Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Blues and Thomas Tuchel have already rejected the chance to sign Ronaldo earlier in the summer. Chelsea owner Todd Boehly held talks with Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes earlier in the summer.

The west London club spoke internally about the 37-year-old arriving at Stamford Bridge, but Tuchel was not understood to be convinced by the deal.

Tuchel told told reporters: “If we considered his name… well he’s a fantastic player he is a fantastic player for another fantastic club in our competition in the Premier League.

“Out of respect we don’t comment on these players because we don’t like other coaches to speak about our players. This is where this has to stay.

“We focused on our top target Raheem Sterling who we signed and everything else stays behind closed doors.”

Chelsea are not the only club to have rejected Ronaldo this summer. Atletico Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have all turned their backs on a deal.

But could Chelsea re-enter the equation for Ronaldo on deadline day? According to Sky Sports, that is not out of the question.

Chelsea ‘to pay a transfer fee’

Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol has claimed Chelsea still have an interest in the Portugal forward. And Blues officials could be playing a waiting game.

“One source is telling me that there is still a chance something might happen with Chelsea. If they were to take him, they would offer him a one-year deal with the option for another year,” said Solhekol.

“I’ve been told if that were to happen, Chelsea would pay a transfer fee to Man Utd as well and also that it might help Man Utd from a Financial Fair Play point of view as Chelsea would take Ronaldo’s considerable wages off their books.

“I’m not saying he is going to Chelsea. But the window is open, it’s something we’ve spoken about in the past. From what Erik ten Hag is saying, the most likely outcome is that he stays because it is getting very late.”

Solhekol believes that Chelsea could be waiting for a final-day approach for Ronaldo, with United forced to make a quick-fire decision.

Ronaldo appeals ‘to some people’ at Chelsea

“Todd Boehly has met with Jorge Mendes this summer. Some people in Chelsea’s ownership structure would like to sign Ronaldo, they are in the Champions League as well. Thomas Tuchel, I don’t think has been totally on board with the idea of signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

“It’s kind of a game of poker, wait until the last minute and then put a deal on the table and then United wouldn’t have a lot of time to consider it. They might think, ‘He’s not going to play, we’ve been playing pretty well without him. He doesn’t suit Erik ten Hag’s system, we’ve spent a lot of money on players’,” added Solhekol.

Ten Hag has always publicly maintained that Ronaldo is not for sale. But the forward left Old Trafford at half-time in the pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano. And he has been used sparingly by Ten Hag.

The striker has only started one game this season – the 4-0 defeat at Brentford.

“[It is] clear, of course. I just said we need quality players, you need more to cover all the games, to keep the consistency going. That is what we strive for,” Ten Hag said when asked if Ronaldo would depart.

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