Cristiano Ronaldo told Manchester United he wanted to leave because he didn’t believe the club could win the Premier League next season and wanted to play in the Champions League.
Ronaldo was hoping to see more ambition from United at the start of Erik ten Hag’s tenure as manager and is dismayed the club have yet to sign. United are still hoping to convince the 37-year-old to stay, especially with their work in the transfer market in the days and weeks to come.
Ronaldo has no agreement to join another club. His agent, Jorge Mendes, has been exploring options for weeks, with Chelsea and Bayern Munich among the clubs he has spoken with, and will continue to seek destinations for the Portugal international, but there are no advanced negotiations. .
Ronaldo, who scored 24 goals for United last season after returning to Old Trafford from Juventus, has a contact until the end of next season which includes an option for a further year.
United are set to sign Dutch left-back Tyrell Malacia, who is due to fly to Manchester on Sunday for two days of medical tests after a €15m (£12.9m) plus 2 million euros in additional costs have been agreed with Feyenoord. , and are working on two much more expensive deals which they hope could persuade Ronaldo to stay.
They offered €41m plus €4m in bonuses for centre-back Lisandro Martínez – below Ajax’s valuation – and continue to pursue Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
There is an agreement in principle with Barcelona to pay €65m guaranteed and €20m in add-ons, but the add-on structure has not been finalized and personal terms are to be agreed with the player. 25-year-old, who was not looking to move and was hoping to play in the Champions League next season. Barcelona president Joan Laporta insisted on Saturday that he had no intention of selling De Jong but indicated he would ask the player to take a pay cut.
Martínez wants to move to England but United face competition from Argentina international Arsenal. United’s offer is bigger than Arsenal’s but Ajax value the 24-year-old at €50m. Ten Hag hopes his relationship with Martínez of three seasons together at Ajax could work in his favor if a fee and personal terms are settled.
The loss of Ronaldo would be a blow for United, partly because he scored 14 more goals than any other player at the club last season – Bruno Fernandes was second on this list – but also because this episode is the last overwhelming signal of their decline. Ronaldo has played in the Champions League every season since his first move to United in 2003 and won it five times, but not since 2018. United are in the Europa League next season.
On Saturday, United confirmed goalkeeper Dean Henderson had joined Nottingham Forest on loan for a season. Forest are also close to bringing in Giulian Biancone, a 22-year-old French defender, from Troyes.