A move back to Serie A has been described as one of the likeliest exit routes for Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo – and a Napoli official has now opened up on their transfer plans.
Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United in the summer after they failed to qualify for the Champions League. However, despite his reputation as a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, no one was ready to invest in him.
Hence, he has had to set out on another season with Manchester United. It has not been without incident, though.
Recently, he refused to come on as a substitute for a match against Tottenham Hotspur, which he left early. It led Erik ten Hag to leave him out of the squad for the next fixture against Chelsea.
Ten Hag has since confirmed that Ronaldo has been recalled ahead of Manchester United’s Europa League meeting with Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday. The manager then made it clear he would not be speaking further about the Portugal forward’s situation.
It seems like almost everyone else has been doing, though. There have been plenty of claims about Ronaldo in the media, both from pundits and transfer insiders. There have been some indications of where he might end up if he leaves Manchester United.
Specifically, a return to Serie A has been highlighted as the most likely solution for the former Juventus attacker. In that case, one of the main clubs that reports are mentioning are league leaders Napoli.
Luciano Spalletti’s side were already potential contenders for his signature in the summer. Nothing came of it, although there have been claims that they retain an interest.
Given that some pundits have urged Manchester United to get rid of Ronaldo as soon as possible, it has been an interesting development to keep an eye on.
Napoli play down chances of Cristiano Ronaldo transfer
Alas, it seems it will not be happening. Napoli’s sporting director Cristian Giuntoli has ruled out the signing of Ronaldo in January – or anyone else, for that matter.
Before Napoli’s 3-0 win over Rangers in the Champions League on Wednesday, Giuntoli told DAZN: “Ronaldo in January? We won’t sign any player in January.
“We don’t need to change anything in this team. We’re doing great and we’re not planning any signing, as of today.”
From Napoli’s perspective, it probably makes sense not to tinker with a winning formula too much. They are competing well on all fronts and will want to maintain their momentum, rather than shake things up by adapting to fit around Ronaldo.
It means the options are narrowing further if Manchester United want to try and offload Ronaldo during the winter transfer window.
Another of the main candidates for his services, Sporting CP, have also recently had a club official – head coach Ruben Amorim – admit that although signing Ronaldo would be a dream, doing so would not be affordable because of his high wages.
Ten Hag might have to reintegrate striker further
Hence, Manchester United might be stuck with Ronaldo until his contract expires in 2023. That turn of expression might not seem fair, given his obvious ability and legendary status. But the division he may have been causing has not been helpful.
Ten Hag has seemingly had enough of the issue, hence his refusal to answer more questions about the 37-year-old. He must now simply focus on how best to use Ronaldo while he remains available as a Manchester United player.
After finishing last season as the club’s top goalscorer, Ronaldo has had to be more patient since Ten Hag took charge in the summer. After missing much of pre-season, it is understandable why that is the case.
In the meantime, the manager has been trying to construct a winning team with the right kind of players. He may now face a dilemma of how Ronaldo reintegrates into that – unless a chance remains that anyone else could come calling.
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