When Erik ten Hag took the Manchester United job, it was meant to herald a new era at Old Trafford. Fast forward to the middle of August and this era has already become something of a disaster for the Dutchman. Questions are being asked about Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchecter United.
Because if a 2-1 home defeat to Brighton was bad enough for the former Ajax boss, the 4-0 reverse at Brentford that followed, was nothing short of abysmal and after this showing in West London, the pressure is already on the 52-year-old Dutchman.
Pressure that is not only being felt by the manager, but those players who have taken to the field since the start of the season and although one of them did not start against Brighton, he was afforded a place in the starting eleven just six days later.
The Super Power is Fading
While the man in question is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo and after having to make do with a place on the substitutes bench against Brighton, ten Hag was ready to unleash him against Brentford.
Only he may as well have not bothered and although this player in particular was not solely responsible for United’s disaster class against Thomas Frank’s men, he was certainly nowhere near the level of output he is capable of.
Which has been something of an underlying sentiment as far as the former Real Madrid star is concerned and with the Red Devils failing to earn a return to the Champions League for this season, it has created a rather obvious problem.
Cristiano Ronaldo And Manchester United – Europa League
A problem that is stark as it is simple and with Ronaldo not known as someone who even looks at the Europa League, let alone play it, he has quickly become far too big for what was previously a sporting institution.
Now it is Ronaldo himself who is the institution and with him looking elsewhere in terms of future employment, it is his current employers who ask themselves – what do we do in a situation such as this?
If United’s talisman was 10 years younger, there would be a list as long as your arm when it comes to potential new suitors. However, Ronaldo is now 37 and has already played for the clubs at the very top table of European football.
Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus are already on his football c.v. and therefore, there are not many clubs who would be willing to take on board the player and his hefty wages or still be considered glamorous enough to move on to.
Simply put United’s number seven is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The rock being on the outside looking in when it comes to Champions League football, the hard place being the stadium of Old Trafford.
Not only is the player too big for his current club, but so is his ego and with some reports suggesting that even the United hierarchy have had enough, it could be they who blink first in this game of ongoing brinkmanship.
Press The Button
If the reports are to be believed, the higherups in the boardroom are ready to cancel the two-year contract that was handed out 12 months ago. Which would mean any remaining wages are subsequently paid up in full.
Logic that may be considered nuclear in its approach, but it may be the only way out of such a difficult situation and if Erik ten Hag oversees more indifferent results, the petulance from the biggest name in the dressing room is only going to increase further.
Cristiano Ronaldo And Manchester United – Firing On All Cylinders
Yes, a Ronaldo firing on all cylinders would be a huge boost to any Premier League club’s bid for a top-four finish. Unfortunately, this high-performance engine has a habit of only going through the motions instead.
Therefore, it may be deemed easier just to get him off the books. A huge statement by the manager and the board and a huge gamble at the same time. Especially when you consider the start to this season.
However, removal of the sulking and the petulance might just be the one thing that finally brings this club back together and although they may be losing their biggest name, there is a sense that he has been lost already.
Better to end the spell and admit defeat, than to have a constant thorn in the manager’s side for the next eight months. That is one level of rationale and one that supporters, may have to accept for United to go forward.
Of course, whether the man who started his career at Sporting Lisbon, does stay for the duration of his contract, is almost immaterial when you consider just how poor recruitment has been at the Theatre of Dreams in the past few years.
Square Pegs, Round Holes
If only because there seems to be nothing in the way of strategy, especially when it comes to signing attackers. Edinson Cavani did not have the worst spell, but it was steeped in relative short-termism and the less said about Odion Ighalo the better.
Even Ronaldo was something of a vanity purchase, in the same way that Alexis Sanchez never really got to grips with his new surroundings. Did they really need either player at the time of their arrival? You would have to say perhaps not.
Cristiano Ronaldo And Manchester United – Conclusion
Quite simply, this is a team that needs more in the way of attacking personnel, regardless of other exits or not, and with the likes of Marko Arnautovic and even Jamie Vardy now being linked with a move, this smacks of a club hoping for a top-six finish at best.
Something that when you consider the start to this current Premier League campaign, may be the best that they can hope for, and for all those who thought that the good times were going to return to Old Trafford in double quick time, things may have to get worse before they get better.
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