Manchester United have been told the end may be nigh for two of their big-name stars with a new manager ready to get tough and make wholesale squad changes.
The Red Devils facing another summer reboot after an underwhelming season. Despite spending big on the likes of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, United have fallen down the league this season. Indeed, having finished second last season, their current placing of fifth is hugely disappointing.
Ralf Rangnick was brought in to steady the ship after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal, but even the German’s reign has been bang average. Indeed, reports suggest United chiefs may even pull the plug early on Rangnick’s spell in charge.
Whoever the new man in charge proves to be, a summer overhaul of the squad looks likely.
As such, a number of players could well find themselves departing the club. And to that end, a report last month listed the names of 11 players likely to face the chop.
Now pundit Danny Murphy has run the rule over United’s under-achieving squad.
He says any new manager will need to be ruthless – and claims Cristiano Ronaldo could be the big-name casualty.
Ronaldo has divided opinion since his return to Man Utd. He’s scored 18 goals in 32 appearances and actually looks as sharp as ever in front of goal.
‘Ronaldo exit makes sense’
However, his playing style is not seen as befitting of the way United want to set up.
Furthermore, Murphy feels a parting of ways looks likely.
“Something radical needs to change at Manchester United even if it means important players like Cristiano Ronaldo being sold. You have to be careful dealing with superstars on big contracts. It’s better to find other takers before you fall out with them,” he told the Daily Mail.
“But the bigger picture is that United have gone five years without a trophy. And they need to back a top manager who is there for the long haul. Those guys will want to do things their own way and a clear-out makes sense, headed by Paul Pogba and Ronaldo.
“You can’t question Ronaldo’s quality but he’s 37. And, despite his goals, United don’t have balance as a team. They rely on Ronaldo’s individual brilliance, which can work in some games. But doesn’t against the best teams in the Premier League and Champions League.”
Murphy on why Man Utd must sell Cristiano Ronaldo
Despite his impressive numbers, Murphy is adamant Man Utd will be better off without Ronaldo.
And while he admits the fans will be sorry to see him depart, it will be a departure necessary for the long-term good of the club.
“United need both world-class ability and incredible physical output to compete and the latter isn’t in Ronaldo’s game any more. For former glories to return to Old Trafford, United’s players need to press and compete for 60 matches a season in addition to the ability they possess. I can’t see Ronaldo being part of that,” Murphy added.
“Selling him go will be difficult for United fans. He’s a hero and rightly so but that doesn’t alter the fact it needs to happen for the future good of the team. It might be different if Ronaldo had the personality to accept he can’t play every week, but that wouldn’t happen. He’s never played second fiddle.
“If the new manager wants Harry Kane, I’m not sure Ronaldo would want a supporting role. Ronaldo is an all-time great but he isn’t the solution to United’s problems. They need a world-class manager and let him build, even it means letting go of a legend.”