Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United is uncertain, but their fierce rivals are close to completing a deal to recruit Erling Haaland, one of Europe’s most prolific attackers.
The events of the weekend should suffice as an indication of just how much the balance of power in Manchester has altered in recent years.
Manchester United, a team that has been associated with success in the Premier League era, were thrashed 4-0 by Brighton, while Manchester City, the new North-West kings, cruised to their fourth title in five years with a brutal 5-0 triumph against Newcastle.
The fact that City are currently lightyears ahead of United isn’t exactly breaking news-but United are on the verge of falling even farther behind their noisy neighbors, with Pep Guardiola’s side set to complete a £64 million move for Erling Haaland this week.
While City prepare to welcome Europe’s finest striker to the Etihad, United are worried about their own talisman’s future.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s romantic homecoming to Old Trafford last summer sparked debate at the time, and the caveats that come with putting the 37-year-old in the team continue to divide opinion to this day.
But it’s difficult to imagine where United would be without his 24-goal haul this season.
Despite their poor season, United are depending on Ronaldo to stay at the club, and while they may be granted a respite, it’s evident that his days at the top are short.
Manchester City now has a striker capable of fueling their long-term goals; Manchester United lacks such succession planning.
To be honest, finding a suitable successor for Ronaldo is difficult at the moment.
Although the Portuguese superstar is nearing the end of his career, his abilities show no signs of diminishing.
So, with everything in mind, to whom can United turn to at this time?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was said to be interested in signing Haaland this summer, but that was before Ronaldo arrived last year and Solskjaer was fired in November.
Haaland is no longer available for purchase.The only other striker who may be considered a credible alternative for Ronaldo is Harry Kane.
New York City, on the other hand, balked at Daniel Levy’s exorbitant asking price less than a year ago.
It’s difficult to imagine United doing much better than their competitors in their pursuit of the £150 million-rated star.
Darwin Nunez and Sebastian Haller have both been mentioned as possible Manchester United targets ahead of Erik ten Hag’s summer arrival, although neither is in the same league as Cristiano Ronaldo.
Recent rumors imply that Ronaldo is determined to stay and help rebuild Manchester United rather than cut his second coming short.
This could perhaps be the greatest start Ten Hag could hope for this summer.
United, on the other hand, must figure out what comes next-and soon. Sergio Aguero’s replacement took over a year after he departed City last summer.
Surprisingly, the year-long gap hasn’t harmed them; you wouldn’t expect the same of Manchester United, who already have plenty of catching up to do.