Cristiano Ronaldo’s chapter at Manchester United has come to an end, in the most unwanted fashion. Little did the club and the player himself knew that the Aston Villa game at the start of this month was his last in the famous Red shirt. A 3-1 loss there, and nothing was same for United thereafter. Ronaldo missed the next two games, as United manager Erik ten Hag cited ‘illness’ as the reason for the forward’s absence. However, just days after United played their final game before the World Cup break, Ronaldo dropped a huge bombshell on the club.
The 37-year-old, in an [unauthorised by the club] interview to Piers Morgan slammed United for “betraying” him, and accused Ten Hag of not respecting him. He also tore into the club’s owners, the Glazers family for stagnating the England’s biggest club. All his comments pointed to the exit door, and in a latest statement by the club and the player, a mutual termination contract has been agreed and signed. The Red Devils reportedly do not want to waste any time and have identified Ronaldo’s successor at Old Trafford.
United want Inter’s Lautaro Martinez to replace Cristiano Ronaldo
Argentina international Lautaro Martinez has been on the wish list of a number of elite European club for a long time now. Manchester United are the new entrants on the list, as the Red Devils have shop listed him to fill the big void left by Cristiano Ronaldo. Martinez has earned his applauds at Inter, joining the Italian side in 2018 from Argentine side Racing Club. He wasted no time in settling in at the club, netting 30 goals in all competitions in the first two seasons.
Cementing his place in the Inter starting eleven, Martinez has amassed an impressive 82 goals and 30 assists in just 202 appearances for the club, steering them to three trophies including a Serie A title. Likewise for his national team Argentina, Lautaro Martinez quickly filled in the void left by the pre-mature retirement of Sergio Aguero, so far scoring 21 goals in 41 games, and helping Messi and co lift the Copa America last year.
However, much speculation surrounded his future at San Siro last season, as Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich were all reported to have registered their overwhelming interest in acquiring Martinez’s services. But to put an end to it once and for all, the striker penned a new, five-year contract last year which now runs until the summer of 2026. This made it difficult for his pursuers to entice him away, as Martinez himself had expressed his desire to continue at Inter.
Manchester United are now ready to try their luck and lure him to Old Trafford. Of course, the opportunity of playing at ‘The Theatre of Dreams’ is hard to turn down, but it will take lot more than that for United to sign the Inter player. First and foremost, they will have to convince the player to switch sides, just 12 months after he penned a new deal. The financial aspect comes to the play then, as Inter will certainly demand a humongous amount for a player who is ready to peak at 25-years-old.
Although the money won’t be a problem for the Red Devils, as they have already saved themselves £16 million after Ronaldo agreed not to pocket the pay-out after contract termination. But agreeing a deal with Martinez will be a Herculean task, which United will surely rest upon Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman has managed to bring in some big names at Old Trafford in Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Antony, and needs to work his magic in the case of Martinez as well.
The next two transfer windows will now tell the story if United achieve success in replacing Cristiano Ronaldo with Lautaro Martinez, or will be forced to look somewhere else. Meanwhile, Martinez is away on international duty with Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where the hot favourites suffered a massive set-back after Saudi Arabia handed them a defeat in their group stage opener. The Inter forward had two goals chalked-off for offside, and at the moment, a possible move to United won’t be even on his thought-list. The Argentines next play Mexico in a must win game on November 27.