Hey reader, welcome to The Weekly Round-Up. Here you can catch a glimpse of all the news throughout the last week. Our aim is to keep you up to date with all of the reliable news regarding Manchester United, so you don’t miss a thing.
In a week which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side register a hard fought 1-0 victory at Wolverhampton (A), the 2021 summer transfer window came to an end, albeit not without plenty of activity. From the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Daniel James leaving the club, there was plenty happening. Let’s get right into it all.
CRISTIANO RONALDO RETURNS
“I have a fantastic history with this amazing club. I was there at 18 years old and of course I’m so happy to be back home after 12 years. So I’m really glad and looking forward to start my first game” – were Ronaldo’s words when talking to the official club website. In what was an extraordinary turn of events, Ronaldo made a return to Manchester United, signing a 2-year deal with the option of another 12 months.
Ronaldo had looked set to join Manchester City till last Friday, till there was a twist of enormous proportions in the ‘transfer saga’. It was reported that United started to put serious work into a transfer on the previous evening (26th August, Thursday). Sir Alex Ferguson is said to have played an enormous role in convincing the player to join United too, something which was later confirmed by him in an interview with the club website. The transfer fees involved in the transaction with Juventus is said to be an initial payment of €15m over a period of 5 years, and €8m in add-ons. According to Telegraph Sport, the salary Ronaldo will receive will make him the highest paid player in Premier League history – and the player’s wages would be higher than the £560kpw (including bonuses and image rights) which Alexis Sanchez used to earn at Old Trafford. It was also mentioned that the Glazer family hopes Ronaldo would end up having a similar impact on United which Tom Brady had on their NFL franchise – Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
David Ornstein, while speaking on The Athletic Football Podcast mentioned that United had the plans of considering to sign Ronaldo on a free transfer next year, but the plan had to be brought forward now that the player was moving – it was worth mentioning that the player had been offered to United multiple times over the summer, but they never took up the offer anticipating the fact that Juventus won’t sell. Once Solskjær came to know of the discussions about the player moving to Manchester City, he asked Ed Woodward as to whether United could do that deal instead – to which the latter replied in the affirmative. Another report by Mirror Football also mentioned that how many at United were of the opinion that this would not be Ronaldo’s last contract at United.
RONALDO RELEASED FROM INTERNATIONAL DUTY AND TRAVELLING TO MANCHESTER
After officially joining the club on deadline day, Ronaldo played for Portugal the next day and managed to break the record for the most international goals by a male footballer in spectacular style. Two late goals from the 36-year-old in a dramatic 2-1 win against Republic of Ireland sent him to the top of the charts with 111 goals, beating Ali Daei’s feat of 109 goals for Iran.
However, Ronaldo received a yellow card after he took his shirt off to celebrate his 96th minute winner. This led to him being suspended for Portugal’s match against Azerbaijan next Tuesday.
In turn, Ronaldo has been officially released from international duty as per this afternoon (Thursday). RTP have also reported that Ronaldo is flying back to Manchester today and ‘has a strong desire’ to start training with Manchester United as soon as possible.
However, RTP have reported that United’s returning star will have to isolate in England for five days before he can start training with the team.
DANIEL JAMES JOINS LEEDS UNITED
Daniel James joined Leeds United in a deal which would be worth an initial £25m along with £5m more in add-ons. In what was a rather quick turn of events, it wasn’t very long ago that it was an established fact that James would stay at United for the season – till the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo changed things. The player was informed that his game time would be severely limited, and was made available for a move. Multiple clubs showed interest in the player but Leeds were the most keen for a move and had the most appetite to pay a fee acceptable to Manchester United.
UNITED SOURCES HAPPY WITH BUSINESS DONE
Samuel Luckhurst of the MEN reported that senior United sources are very happy with the business done this summer – insisting they have made three world-class additions that highlight the Glazer family’s backing for Solskjær. It also mentioned that they insist that there is an ongoing strengthening of the recruitment department at the club, enhanced by scouting and analytics reporting communicated to football director John Murtough. The report went on to state how director of football negotiations Matt Judge had performed well over the summer and that Ed Woodward had also played a very key role.
UPDATES ON RASHFORD’S INJURY SITUATIONS
Laurie Whitwell, while speaking on the Talk of the Devils podcast mentioned that Marcus Rashford was 2 weeks ahead of schedule on his road to recovery from the shoulder surgery he had. Jonathan Shrager, on the other hand, mentioned that the recovery of Rashford’s foot was also progressing nicely, along with mentioning the fact that Rashford was very excited to be training with Cristiano Ronaldo on a daily basis – viewing his habits and leaning from the way he prepared for games.
FAILED LOAN MOVE FOR AMAD
A season-long loan move to Feyenoord was very close to materialise for Amad before a thigh muscle injury sustained by him in training ruled him out for a period of six weeks. A number of sources reported that his situation would be re-assessed during the January transfer window and that the current thinking is that he will leave on a loan then.
HAALAND STILL THE PRIORITY FOR NEXT SUMMER
Mark Ogden of the ESPN reported that Erling Haaland remains United’s priority target for next summer irrespective of the fact that they’ve committed a significant outlay to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus. He went on to mention that the deal to sign Ronaldo was financed outside of United’s original summer transfer budget and that it would not impact next year’s recruitment plans. It also articulated that the club believed they had the financial clout to sign Haaland and even felt that their hand could be strengthened given Haaland’s admiration of Ronaldo is well known.
UNITED HOPE POGBA WILL BE CONVINCED TO STAY
Laurie Whitwell had reported on 19th August that United had made an offer as high as £400kpw to Paul Pogba upto 2025 with the option of an extra year – to which he didn’t respond at the time, although the deal does remain on the table. Samuel Luckhurst of the MEN then went on to report that United hope that the signing of Ronaldo will convince Pogba to commit his future to the club. There is said to be a feeling among the hierarchy that the return of Ronaldo is such a compelling statement of intent that it will persuade Pogba to stay at United.
LYON EXPLORE LOAN MOVES FOR MARTIAL AND BAILLY
James Ducker of Telegraph Sport reported that Lyon explored loan moves for Anthony Martial and Eric Bailly on deadline day but a formal enquiry was made for neither player. L’Équipe also reported that although Lyon made a loan move for Martial, the player refused a move.
Laurie Whitwell also reported that intermediaries wanted to place Martial at PSG in case a transfer for Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid materialised, but Solskjær wanted to keep the player at this stage of the window.
BOTH LINGARD AND VAN DE BEEK STAY AT UNITED
Despite of a number of teams having interest in Jesse Lingard, the player will stay at Manchester United for now due to lack of a concrete offer from a potential suitor and the fact that Lingard himself wanted to stay and fight for a place at Old Trafford – something which United were not exactly opposed to.
On the other hand, James Ducker reported that Marcel Brands (Everton’s director of football) did hold some talks with Van de Beek’s agent Guido Albers about a loan move but United never received a formal approach or enquiry. Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail went on to also state how a loan move to Everton for Van de Beek was thwarted and the player was told that he remains a part of Solskjær’s plans for the season.
DALOT STAYS AND NO MOVE FOR TRIPPIER
After looking set to stay at United, there was late talk of a move to Borussia Dortmund for Diogo Dalot. According to Sky Germany, Dortmund were ready to accept United’s demands of taking the player on a loan with an obligation to buy – but the move was going to depend on United finding a replacement right-back. All this until Fabrizio Romano reported within a few hours that United had made Dalot non-transferrable and that he was going to stay at United for the season. Patrick Berger of SPORT1 later mentioned how United had made a bid of €21m for Kieran Trippier which was rejected by Atletico Madrid. As a result of United not being able to find a replacement, Dalot would be staying at United and a move to Dortmund would not take place.
CAVANI STAYS AT UNITED
Edinson Cavani was linked to Barcelona on deadline day but a move did not materialise and the forward will stay at United. According to Laurie Whitwell, Barcelona held talks with Cavani’s agents about a move but United had no plans to let him go on deadline day. According to Jonathan Shrager, the player also didn’t want to leave United.
NO LOAN MOVE FOR ELANGA
According to Laurie Whitwell, a number of clubs had asked about taking Anthony Elanga on a season-long loan but Solskjær felt that the player’s development will be best handled if he stayed at United for now.
LOAN MOVES FOR 4 ACADEMY PLAYERS
Andreas Pereira, James Garner, Dylan Levitt and Brandon Williams all headed on to season-long loans to Flamengo, Nottingham Forest, Dundee United and Norwich City respectively.
The final terms of Pereira’s loan to Flamengo were that the Brazilian side would not pay a loan fee and that the player’s salary would be shared between the clubs – and that they would have a €20m buy option for the player in 2022. United would also receive 20% of any future sale. James Garner, on the other hand, signed a new United contract until 2024 with the option of an extra year before heading on loan to Nottingham Forest.
On Brandon Williams’ loan move to Norwich City, Laurie Whitwell reported that United would receive a loan fee for the player and that Norwich will pay the player’s full salary for the season.