Erik ten Hag is keen to spark a revival at Manchester United, and he has revealed whether superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo will play a part in that next season
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New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has spoken about striker Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time since it was announced he was entering the Old Trafford dugout.
Ronaldo is set to be the Red Devils’ only striker upon Ten Hag’s arrival, with Edinson Cavani out of contract this summer. It is no secret that the manager will be in the market for reinforcements, though he appears to have big plans for Ronaldo.
The striker has scored 18 goals in 30 Premier League appearances so far this season, though some have questioned whether the 37-year-old would even have a future at the club. There were suggestions that he could push for a move given that United would not be playing Champions League football next season and instead would be competing in the Europa League/European Conference League.
Speaking after Ajax’s final game of the season, Ten Hag mentioned his plans for Ronaldo. He said: “From tomorrow, my focus will be on United, and I will of course get deep into things there
“What I have to say about it is, the detailed analysis still has to begin, I still have to work with the team, but let me be clear that at United there are a lot of good players around. We have to make them function as a team but definitely Ronaldo, he is a giant.”
Despite Ten Hag’s plans to completely reshape his United side, the former Real Madrid forward is clearly central to his plans and could be a figure that he builds his team around in the short term. However, the club have been linked with the likes of Harry Kane and Darwin Nunez recently and both aren’t the calibre of players to warm the bench.
Ronaldo has also spoken out about Ten Hag, and the Portugal captain appears willing to commit to the Dutchman’s project at Old Trafford. He said: “What I know about him is he did a fantastic job for Ajax, that he’s an experienced coach. But we need to give him time. Things need to change the way he wants.
“I hope we have success, of course, because, if you have success, all of Manchester is going to have success as well. I wish him the best. We are happy and excited, not only as players but the supporters as well. I wish him the best and let’s believe that, next year, we are going to win trophies.”
Ten Hag will also be keen to bolster his midfield over the summer, especially with so many players departing before he even arrives. Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata are all leaving the club, with Nemanja Matic also likely to leave as well.
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is amongst the stars linked with a move to United, as well as Monaco prospect Aurelien Tchouameni. The club are also thought to be monitoring several Premier League stars, with Southampton ’s James Ward Prowse, Yves Bissouma of Brighton and Wolves ’ Ruben Neves all thought to be of interest to the Red Devils.