Ronaldo, Mbappe moves could bring a thrilling end to summer transfer window

Published on Aug 27, 2021 08:50 PM IST

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said at a press conference on Friday that Ronaldo has told him that he wants out, chances of the Portuguese returning to Manchester brightened considerably--not to City but United.

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo(REUTERS) PREMIUM
Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo(REUTERS)

All those who thought Lionel Messi’s shock departure from Barcelona to Paris St-Germain would be the biggest talking point of the summer transfer window may have another think coming. Because Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe could also find themselves at new clubs before the window shuts on Tuesday.

After Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said at a press conference on Friday that Ronaldo has told him that he wants out, chances of the Portuguese returning to Manchester brightened considerably--not to City but United. As it did for Mbappe to be the next big thing at Real Madrid who have, after being snubbed once, made a fresh offer to PSG, according to reports on Thursday.

What these reports have done is add spice to the just begun European season. The crowds are back and they will be debating if Ronaldo will make a return to the club that made him and whether Mbappe would be able to lead Real into a new dawn.

After being linked with Manchester City over the last one week, Ronaldo's former club Manchester United dropped a bomb when United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Friday said: “He knows what we feel about him. If he was ever going to move from Juventus, he knows that we're here. I know Bruno (Fernandes) has been talking to him as well.”

According to reports in England United are the favourites to sign Ronaldo while City have now withdrawn their interest.

City manager Pep Guardiola insisted on Friday he is happy with his squad.

"Cristiano will decide where he wants to play, not Manchester City or myself. Right now, it looks far, far away. These type of players decide. They knock the door, they call and after there are situations I cannot control. It is not my business.”

If Ronaldo does move to United, the Manchester club will be brimming with new firepower in attack, having signed Jadon Sancho earlier in the month. It’s what Solskjaer craved for last season when other young guns in their forwardline—Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial—blew hot and cold. Edinson Cavani was injury prone in the early part of the season before giving a glimpse of what he is capable of towards the season end.

If Ronaldo still ends up signing for City, it would play nicely into Pep Guardiola’s plans after City failed in their bid to snare Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur who wanted more than the 145 million euros offered. So desperate are City to get a replacement for Sergio Aguero, who left this season after 10 years, that they have, according to reports, began back channel talks to sign Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. It got Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta to say that Aubameyang is not on sale.

City have showed that a Premier League can be won and a Champions League final played without a focal point in attack but Ronaldo’s move to the Etihad Stadium could be the right fit for both parties. For Ronaldo, it will be the perfect last hurrah in a glorious career. And City would get a proven goalscorer, a matchwinner who, at 36, keeps defying age.

City have been clubbed with PSG in the Champions League group stage and like them, the Paris club is desperate to win this competition. So, when Barca announced they couldn’t retain Messi, PSG were quickest to the draw. The demand for PSG’s season tickets has been the highest and the jersey sales have already fetched around 120 million euros. PSG also believe that they will have greater leverage when their commercial deals are renewed. With Messi expected to earn around 64 million euros annually including bonuses, financially this has been a win-win situation for both.

On field, Messi will reunite with Neymar. Both bonded well at Barca and PSG will hope that they can reproduce that chemistry and camaraderie. If like Spurs, PSG manage to hold on Mbappe for a season, the Messi-Neymar-Mbappe attacking trident could be a strike force for the ages.

Messi should bring stability to the PSG line-up that tends to crumble under pressure, especially in the Champions League. They have also brought in experience at the back with the free transfers of Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan). There have also been rumours that PSG may make a last-ditch effort to sign Ronaldo if Mbappe leaves. Messi and Ronaldo as teammates? All those who think that’s not possible need only to look as far as Ramos offering to help Messi settle down in Paris.

Reports in France suggest that Mbappe has been unsettled since Messi’s arrival. PSG have no issues with him leaving but only if the “price is right” for the player they bought for 180 million from Monaco in 2018.

Real would have the break the bank to coax PSG into releasing the 22-year-old asset. After Real’s initial offer, a member of the Qatari royal family, which has close links with PSG, tweeted: “If you agree to the specified price. contact us...Or complete the season with the golfer.” The last bit was a dig at Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale who once cheekily put his preference for golf above the club.

But should Mbappe move, it may well be the end of the road for Bale or Eden Hazard --- two marquee signings at Real --- or both. Hazard hasn’t hit the same heights as he did with Chelsea due to a string of injuries. During Euro 2020 he admitted that his “ankle won’t be the same again”. Bale’s time at Real started well but disagreements with Zinedine Zidane meant he has spent more time on the bench. While Carlo Ancelotti has said Bale is part of his rebuilding process, the Welshmen’s lack of consistency may make the coach change his mind.

Two of the hottest properties that every top club will look to have on their roster will be Norwegian sensation Erling Haaland and Bayern Munich’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who has said he wants to take up a new challenge.

Haaland has a release clause of 75 million euros which will come into play next summer, so clubs have waited for a season before going after the Borussia Dortmund star. Manchester United seems his likely destination but never count out City, PSG and Barcelona. Don’t be surprised if they go after him in the winter transfer window itself. Haaland will be a perfect fit at any of the top clubs.

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