Manchester United are reportedly ready to let Cristiano Ronaldo to Spanish club Atlético Madrid – albeit only on loan. Meanwhile, captain Harry Maguire has turned down a move to Barcelona as the dramatic transfer hiatus continues.
Here’s the latest from the Old Trafford Club.
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RONALDO MOVE POSSIBLE IN BIG ROTATION
Manchester United are reportedly ready to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to leave the club in a major twist in the ongoing saga surrounding the Portuguese superstar. But there’s one big caveat – the deal would only be a loan one, and the Old Trafford club want Ronaldo to extend his contract so he can play a final season in England next year!
That’s according to The Mirror, who say United asked Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes about the plan at a recent meeting.
Ronaldo’s transfer request has not yet been approved by United, with the club insisting the 37-year-old is not for sale and manager Erik ten Hag making it clear that Ronaldo remains part of his plans.
But Ronaldo missed United’s pre-season tour of Asia and Australia and has not returned to training after taking a break for family reasons.
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Europe’s top clubs have shown little interest in buying Ronaldo despite his scoring season at United, while the Red Devils are unwilling to let him go as he offers significant value – not just in terms of goals and leadership, but also in terms of its marketing value.
However, Atletico Madrid are keen and reportedly even willing to sell French striker Antoine Griezmann to fund a move.
Ronaldo is also reportedly willing to take a 30 per cent pay cut if it means moving to a team that plays Champions League football.
However, it would be a controversial decision as Ronaldo has spent most of his career at Real Madrid, Atletico’s bitter rivals.
Ronaldo’s contract at United expires at the end of next season, but both sides have the option to extend this contract for a season.
According to The Mirror, the club have asked Ronaldo to take up that option and will then approve a loan deal for this year.
Then Ronaldo could return at Old Trafford last year – and United hope they’ll have qualified for the Champions League by then.
It’s a shocking twist in history, but it remains to be seen if Ronaldo will agree to the deal.
MAGUIRE SNUBS BARCA
Meanwhile, captain Harry Maguire reportedly turned down an offer from Barcelona to join the Spanish giants.
Barca reportedly wanted Maguire included in a swap deal for Frenkie de Jong, United’s top target, but Maguire refused to leave the Red Devils despite plenty of criticism from fans in recent months – including the boos at the MCG on the recent Australian tour.
“Some players, especially with the criticism flying around, would have been dying to leave had Barcelona called,” a source close to Maguire told the Sunday Mirror.
“But Harry is unperturbed and wants to have a successful season with United.
“When it comes to mental toughness, Harry has it in abundance. As always, he will do what he does best.”
United have agreed a €85m deal for De Jong with Barca but the midfielder hopes to stay at the Spanish club.
This has created a tricky stalemate with Barcelona trying to force him out the door, which is particularly important given the transfer arrivals and precarious financial situation.