Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United on Friday, 12 years after he left for Real Madrid – but the Portuguese star’s arrival has brought fresh doubt over the future of two players
Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational homecoming will bring about bad news for Manchester United duo Daniel James and Anthony Martial, sparking fresh doubts over their future.
However, the arrival of Ronaldo will mean that both are likely to miss out on valuable game time at the expense of the Portuguese star.
Solskjaer himself has already said that Ronaldo will have a key role to play at Old Trafford.
“He’s [ Ronaldo ] not signed to sit on the bench. He will make us a better team,” he said.
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The 36-year-old is set to start up top for United – with fellow Portugal international Bruno Fernandes just behind – meaning Martial in particular will be pushed down the pecking order.
Martial has been linked with a move away from Manchester this summer, with Inter rumoured to be interested, but nothing has materialised as of yet.
The 27-year-old has faced a constant battle with doubters about his future, and the arrival of Jadon Sancho for £70million earlier this summer reignited the rumour mill.
The Sun reported a few weeks ago that United are no long interested in selling Martial, but Ronaldo’s return could change things.
When asked about Martial’s situation, Solskjaer has shown his loyalty towards the Frenchman, but those comments came prior to Ronaldo’s announcement.
“Anthony has looked sharp and he looked sharp when he came on and he looked sharp in the game we played against Burnley in the week, and he played well against these at Old Trafford last season,” said Solskjaer.
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He also said recently: “I have no plans whatsoever for him to play against us. Anthony has come back strong and hungry, with the determination to prove his fitness and his quality.
“Last season was a difficult and disappointing one for him and you can see that little bit of grit between his teeth again.
“He is up for the challenge, he is Man United player and we are happy to have him. He has proven doubters wrong so man.”
Meanwhile, midfielder James has also faced speculation linking him with a move away from Old Trafford.
According to The Athletic, United are willing to listen to offers for Wales international James.
Leeds almost signed James from previous club Swansea – before he opted for United – and it is thought that Marcelo Bielsa remains an admirer of the Welsh winger.
And Solskjaer has refused to rule out a potential exit for the 23-year-old before Tuesday’s deadline.
“There has been a couple of enquiries for some of our players. With the signing of Cristiano we might give less playing time to a few,” Solskjaer said.
“I’m not going to discuss individual players and names. Dan is a Man United player at the moment.”