Cristiano Ronaldo has lit up Old Trafford once more and his homecoming on Saturday was met with two goals against Newcastle United.
The Portuguese star may be exactly what United are looking for right now, but it may affect future business.
Cristiano Ronaldo showed the Premier League exactly what they had been missing on Saturday, as the 36-year-old netted a brace in Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.
It was the Portuguese star’s second debut for United, after re-signing for the club on Deadline Day on a two-year deal – with the option of a third year.
United have been left short in the no.9 department with Edinson Cavani dipping in and out of the team, so Ronaldo was signed as a short-term option while the club search for a long-term striker to lead the line.
One of the obvious options moving forward for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was Norwegian compatriot Erling Haaland, but with Ronaldo’s arrival at Old Trafford, a deal may now be difficult to pull off.
It seems highly unlikely that Solskjaer would adjust his system and play two strikers side by side in order to accommodate both Haaland and Ronaldo, and despite the Portuguese star’s age, the five-time Ballon D’or winner will certainly not settle for being used off the bench.
However, it is next summer that Haaland’s £68million release clause comes into affect, meaning that if anyone is to sign the Borussia Dortmund ace, it will be before the start of next season.
This marks Old Trafford as an unlikely destination for Haaland due to these uncertainties, and the latest Paul Pogba update may further cast doubts over a potential move for the Norwegian.
Pogba has started the season in impeccable form and recorded seven assists in United’s first four Premier League outings, a new record in the division.
The Frenchman in the final year of his United contract and was reportedly pushing to leave earlier this summer, though reports are now suggesting that the midfielder is looking to extend his stay at Old Trafford after all.
With it seeming clear that Pogba would leave, it was believed that the money that United would’ve offered the Frenchman would be used to pay Haaland’s salary, but now those funds may no longer be available if the midfielder chooses to sign.
It’s not the worst problem to have, as United have made it clear that they want Pogba to stay, but it may also mean that a deal for Haaland may also be in jeopardy, and former Premier League player and current pundit Danny Murphy has revealed that he doesn’t think Ronaldo is enough to guarantee the Red Devils success.
Murphy said: “Their problem has come in the last couple of seasons, especially the last one, when they come up against the big five. They struggle to win games against the best opposition.
“Can they transfer that feel-good factor into the big games and pick a team that has the right balance to compete with Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City? I don’t think so. Even with Ronaldo there.
“Are they better than Chelsea? I don’t think so. Are they better than Man City and Liverpool? I don’t think so. I don’t think just Ronaldo gives the team balance.”
The real test for Ronaldo will come in the big games for United, and only time will tell whether Solskjaer’s side will challenge for the Premier League title with the Portuguese star leading the line.
Pogba staying will be a huge boost for United, with the Frenchman seemingly finding his form when it matters most in the heart of midfield, but will Ronaldo’s sensational homecoming actually hinder them in the long run?
Even at 36, Ronaldo is a world-beater and recently confirmed to MUTV that he wasn’t “here just for a holiday but here to win”, but it is expected that whatever team manages to secure Haaland will have a world-class striker for potentially the next ten seasons.
It’s hard to turn down the chance to sign Ronaldo, especially with the history that had already been established at Old Trafford, but neighbours Manchester City will be licking their lips at the prospect of signing Haaland, and rubbing it in the faces of their fierce rivals.