Saturday, August 20, 2022

Manchester United close in on Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia as Cristiano Ronaldo misses training

Manchester United are closing in on their first two signings of the Erik ten Hag era with Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia expected to join the club in the coming days.

United have reached an agreement in principle that will secure them the services of Eriksen on a three-year contract, according to The Athletic. The Danish international opts for a move to Old Trafford over extending his exceptional six-month spell with Brentford, who had offered him fresh terms. The 30-year-old midfielder, who had a cardioverter-defibrillator fitted following his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, will still have to complete a medical, though his last half-season in the Premier League would suggest he is more than capable of dealing with the rigors of the English game.

The deal to sign Malacia is closer, as the Dutch left back was completing the second part of his medical at Carrington on Monday morning after United swept in ahead of Lyon to secure the Feyenoord man.

Progress on incomings comes with Cristiano Ronaldo having missed pre-season training with Manchester United on Monday for family reasons, club sources have confirmed to CBS Sports. The Portugal international will be absent with United’s blessing and no timescale has been placed on when he will join up with the club he wants to leave. 

Players involved in international fixtures are due to return to Carrington on Monday but Ronaldo was not among those who joined up with ten Hag’s squad. United are due to fly out for their tour of Australia and Thailand on Friday; missing that trip would be a far more significant step towards the two parties separating.

Ronaldo told United last week that he would like to leave this summer in pursuit of Champions League football. He is also said to be frustrated by the club’s failure to strengthen in the transfer market; whilst rivals have already added to their squad, United have not yet made a signing, though that is set to change in the coming days. The Red Devils do not want to sell last season’s top scorer and have reiterated that they expect him to see out the second year of the contract he signed after leaving Juventus in 2021.

Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes met with Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly last week whilst Bayern Munich and Napoli have also been credited with an interest in the 37-year-old superstar. To what extent that interest might crystallize into serious offers for a player who earns £500,000-a-week and has shown signs of falling off from the remarkably high peak he set earlier in his career remains unclear. Certainly, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel might find it difficult to integrate the most infrequently pressing forward in Europe’s top five leagues into his system. The same might be true of Bayern whilst a move to Napoli might bring Ronaldo Champions League football, but he would not be at an obvious contender to win the whole thing.

For United, moving on from Ronaldo, their top scorer last season with 24 goals, might allow new manager Erik ten Hag to build the team he wants more swiftly, but it would also mean a race to secure a starting striker with scarcely a month until the new season begins. The club insist they expect him to see out his contract and for now are working to surround the No. 7 with more talent.

In addition to the two imminent signings, United are working to secure the signing of Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona and are locked with Arsenal in a battle to secure Lisandro Martinez, who worked under Ten Hag at Ajax.

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