United boss to replace Ronaldo in January

 Man­chester United boss Erik ten Hag is keen to find a replace­ment for Cristiano Ronaldo when the transfer window opens next month.

Ten Hag has already admitted he did not want to lose the striker, 37, but his destructive interview with Piers Morgan made it impossible to keep him.

Ronaldo’s exit means United are short on numbers up front and Ten Hag will assess top-level number nine options.

“We will do everything in our power to sign the right player,” he said.

While they do not exactly fit the template, Ten Hag likes fellow Dutchman Cody Gakpo, 23, at PSV Eindhoven, and Benfica’s 21-year-old frontman Goncalo Ramos, who scored a hat-trick when he replaced Ronaldo in the Portugal side for their World Cup last-16 win against Switzerland.

“I cannot give comments on specific players,” added the United boss. “I will never do that. Players have contracts and I respect that.

“We are doing research on every opportunity and we do everything we can if that opportunity is there to contract them.”

Persuading clubs to release play­ers in January has never been easy and United sources have felt most potential buyers have been biding their time until the full impact of World Cup performances is known.

The Old Trafford outfit spent more than anticipated in the sum­mer, bringing in Antony, Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez, although Ronaldo’s salary being removed from the wage bill following his departure from the club does mean a multi-million pound saving over the remainder of the season.

In the short-term though, Anthony Martial has become a key figure.

The France forward has flattered to deceive throughout his sev­en-year United career.

A loan move to Sevilla in the second half of last season failed to trigger a permanent move and, after an impressive pre-season was ruined by a hamstring injury, the 27-year-old has managed just two Premier League starts.

However, with Ronaldo gone, Jadon Sancho on a fitness pro­gramme following injury and Mar­cus Rashford and Antony having been on World Cup duty, Martial is likely to be a key figure when the domestic campaign resumes against Burnley in the EFL Cup on December 21. —BBC

Show More
Back to top button