Manchester United set to follow Aston Villa transfer lead amid Cristiano Ronaldo talks – John Townley

Manchester United are yet to kick off their summer spending, despite the club’s pre-season schedule under new boss Erik ten Hag set to start next week.

United were expected to get the transfer window off to a quick start, although that doesn’t mean they haven’t tried to bring in new players. In fact, the Red Devils have been very active as ten Hag aims to secure deals for two players he has previously worked with.

The most notable of these moves is the long pursuit of Frenkie De Jong’s transfer. Reports in Spain suggest United are closing in on a deal for the Barlceona man, but a deal has yet to be agreed. And The Athletic are now suggesting that star striker Cristiano Ronaldo is not the happiest with the club’s lack of market conviction, while Ajax winger Antony has also been mentioned as a priority target.

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What makes matters worse is that Barcelona would like to offload several members of their first team amid their financial crisis. Aston Villa have already proven that deals can be done in a short time, as Philippe Coutinho – whom Barca bought for £142m more than four years ago – signed a permanent contract with the club even before the end of the 2021/22 season.

Granted, the Brazilian was already on loan at Villa, but the club managed to haggle with Barcelona and eventually got the playmaker for a cheaper £17m. On the other hand, United have been struggling to secure a deal for De Jong for weeks.

Ten Hag’s efforts to make the 25-year-old his first signing haven’t quite gone to plan and United have been frustrated in talks with Barcelona. They’re ready to forfeit a deal if it doesn’t suit them, but can they afford not to meet cash-strapped Barcelona’s demands?

Back to Ronaldo, and the Portuguese is said to have ‘concerns’ over United’s lack of transfer activity so far this summer, according to The Athletic. United are negotiating to sign de Jong from Barcelona and fellow midfielder Christian Eriksen, who is a free agent after his contract with Brentford expired, although no deal has yet been signed.

Moreover, there are now rumors that Ronaldo could leave Old Trafford this summer. Athletic also report that Chelsea owner Todd Boehly held a meeting in Portugal last week with super-agent Jorge Mendes, whose clients Ronaldo counts. The 37-year-old was reportedly among the topics discussed.

It looks like the coming weeks are vital for United’s upcoming season – they need to take a look at what other clubs are up to this summer, from Villa to Arsenal and Man City, the Red Devils need to get ruthless and show their teeth in the market or else they risk losing another season catching up with the elite of English football.

Was £17m a knock for Coutinho? Tell us in the comments section…


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