Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure has opened doors for Erik ten Hag to bring in his preferred forward to Manchester United in January.
The Red Devils backed the Dutchman last summer by spending over £220 million on six new additions. But Ten Hag wanted to add another forward to United’s light frontline.
He held talks with Cody Gakpo, but the Eredivisie’s record transfer of Antony from Ajax to United ended the pursuit of the PSV talisman. And despite an obvious lack of quality and depth going forward, United weren’t planning to make significant additions in January as well.
Now that Ronaldo’s contract has been terminated with mutual consent, Ten Hag has asked the club to explore the possibility of signing the Portuguese superstar’s replacement. Ronaldo’s exit will save United around £15m in wages.
According to ESPN NL, the former Ajax boss remains keen on Gakpo and wants to bring him to Manchester very quickly.
With a hectic post-World Cup schedule on the cards, Ten Hag needs more options in the attacking department after Ronaldo’s departure. United will have to play two extra games in the Europa League after Real Sociedad leapfrogged them in their group.
Ruud van Nistelrooy prefers to keep the Netherlands international until at least the end of the season as he chases PSV’s first league title since 2018.
If United fail to break the Dutch outfit’s resolve, they could try signing AC Milan’s Rafael Leao, who’s also being monitored by them.
Both Gakpo (2) and Leao (1) have already opened their goal-scoring accounts in the World Cup.