Manchester United have told Cristiano Ronaldo he is not available for transfer this summer despite the Portugal forward’s representatives assessing interest from some of Europe’s top clubs, sources have told ESPN.
Ronaldo has been linked with moves to Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, but sources close to United insist they “want and expect” the 37-year-old to remain at the club next season.
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He has a year left on his contract at Old Trafford with the option of another season. Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions last season but could not prevent United from missing out on qualification for the Champions League after finishing sixth in the Premier League.
Sources have told ESPN that Ronaldo is keen to spend the remaining years of his career playing in the Champions League and has doubts about United’s ambitions after failing to make a signing so far this summer.
However, new manager Erik ten Hag, who is set to lead his first day of preseason training at Carrington on Monday, is banking on having Ronaldo in his squad next season.
Sources have told ESPN that Ten Hag and football director John Murtough have switched their transfer focus from a striker to a more versatile forward after missing out on Darwin Nunez, who has joined Liverpool from Benfica.
Ajax winger Antony is one of the targets, but although the Brazilian is keen to join, Ajax’s valuation of € 80 million is proving problematic.
United’s priority this summer remains to sign a central midfielder, with talks progressing with Barcelona over a move for Frenkie de Jong.
Sources have told ESPN that there is a belief on both sides that an agreement is close and there is hope De Jong could still be part of the squad, which leaves for a tour of Thailand and Australia on July 8.
United are also expecting a decision from Christian Eriksen about where he will play next season.
There was a belief the midfielder, who is a free agent after spending the second half of last season at Brentford, wanted to return to Tottenham Hotspur. But after Spurs’ interest cooled, United and Brentford head the queue for his signature.