Man Utd may have to change Cristiano Ronaldo strategy after Erling Haaland transfer blow

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Manchester United announced the return of Cristiano Ronaldo on Deadline Day after 12 years away from the club, but the long-term aspirations of bringing in Erling Haaland may be under threat as reports have emerged about the Norwegian’s potential future.

Manchester United produced one of the many shocks that the recent transfer window had to offer as they announced the sensational return of Cristiano Ronaldo on Deadline Day.

With Edinson Cavani nearing the end of his career, United were left short in the no.9 role, so Ronaldo was brought in after the Portuguese star made it clear he wanted to leave Juventus.

The 36-year-old has joined on a two-year deal, with the option of a third year, but is very much the short-term answer to United’s problems.

Erling Haaland had emerged as the obvious long-term target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but the 21-year-old superstar may be heading elsewhere.

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According to a report from Diario Madridista, Real Madrid are in pole position to sign the Norwegian striker after verbal communications were held between the Spanish side and Borussia Dortmund.

The whole of Europe’s elite have been monitoring Haaland’s situation after it was discovered that the forward had a £76million release clause that will become active from next summer, giving the 21-year-old the rare luxury of essentially choosing where he wants to play.

It was believed that Haaland was United’s long-term target, with the striker perfect for their no.9 slot following Ronaldo’s second stint, as the Norwegian would link up with compatriot Solskjaer at Old Trafford.

However, according to the Spanish report, Madrid will have first refusal on Haaland, meaning Los Blancos could sign both Kylian Mbappe and the current Dortmund ace during the same summer.

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This blow will only raise the importance of Ronaldo’s performance level’s during his United homecoming, as the Red Devils may have to look elsewhere for a long-term option up top.

Ronaldo is still prolific as a 36-year-old, and his age should not create any illusion that he is not capable of performing at Premier League level, as the Portuguese star beat Romelu Lukaku to the Serie A golden boot last season.

The five-time Ballon D’or winner will automatically take up more responsibility without an obvious replacement lined up, should Haaland go to Madrid as the report suggests, increasing the likelihood of United triggering the option of a third year in Ronaldo’s contract.

With Cavani relatively absent so far, Mason Greenwood has filled in as United’s temporary no.9, and the Englishman has scored in each of their opening three Premier League games so far this season.

Despite the impressive start to the season, it is expected that Greenwood will instantly operate in a wider role, with Ronaldo becoming the club’s new centre-forward, but there is nothing to suggest why the 19-year-old couldn’t operate that position in the future.

Greenwood is two years younger than Haaland and already threatens as a lethal finisher, and there is no better mentor in world football than Ronaldo to teach the youngster how to be a star at Old Trafford.

Although the report suggests that Haaland could be off to Madrid, there is still of a lot of time for deliberations and a multitude of clubs will battle for the Norwegian’s signature.

This saga is by no means over, as it’s barely began, but next summer looks set to be another action packed transfer window, as United take on the rest of Europe for Haaland.

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