Manchester United

Manchester United could move for free agent replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, Ten Hag reportedly likes him

The news Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to leave Manchester United has rocked Old Trafford. The club’s kit launch has even been delayed.

This is set to prompt a re-think of transfer strategy in attack, with United having to pivot and look at potential replacements.

With up to £26 million being saved in salary space alone if Ronaldo goes, United will have some financial room to manouevre to bring in new signings.

One player United have been linked with is Ronaldo’s former Juventus teammate Paulo Dybala, who is a free agent.

Dybala linked with Manchester United

Paulo Dybala is a free agent after his spell at Juventus expired. His next move remains unclear, with several Serie A sides in the hunt for his signature.

Tuttomercatoweb claimed in April that Manchester United held talks with Dybala’s representatives over a move.

This wasn’t a situation we took particularly serious at the time. This was more likely Dybala’s agents reaching out to United, rather than the other way around.

The Cristiano Ronaldo news clearly puts a fresh spin on talk linking United to Dybala.

A fresh report from Tuttomercatoweb on Tuesday linked Manchester United with Dybala again, claiming he could be back on the club’s radar.

The report states: “Manchester United think of Paulo Dybala for his attack once Cristiano Ronaldo’s future has been resolved. Ten Hag likes Dybala but even here it’s a matter of time. Waiting. Of a domino that is ready to go but that hasn’t started yet [Ronaldo].”

Erik ten Hag has managed against Paulo Dybala before when Ajax met Juventus in the Champions League in 2019.

What could Dybala bring to United?

We would still urge some scepticism over Dybala to United reports, but there may be something there. A dialogue between his agents and the club has already been reported.

On a free transfer, this would be a very impressive addition, and United’s salary space created by Ronaldo’s departure would enable the club to pay Dybala and have plenty left over.

Last season Dybala scored 15 goals for Juventus in all competitions. In seven seasons in Turin he scored 115 goals. The best of these came in 2017/18 when he struck 26, before being asked to play second fiddle to Ronaldo. Last season he ended up supporting Dusan Vlahovic for the second half of the campaign.

The Argentine has played a part in five Serie A title wins, and at 28, still has plenty left to offer. His versatility allows him to play multiple attacking roles, leading the line, drifting wide, and dropping deep.

Dybala might be a better fit for the game Ten Hag wishes to play than Ronaldo would. He is an excellent passer of the ball, and helps create chances for his teammates.

He ranked second in Serie A in shots per 90 last season, per FBRef and fourth for shots on target.

Dybala to United is just one to keep an eye on for now. But its gone from ‘unlikely’ to ‘plausible’ as the fallout from Ronaldo’s desire to leave goes on.

 

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