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Manchester United have confirmed they have an agreement in principle to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in a fast and furious transfer saga that may have knock-on implications for Jesse Lingard. With a squad jam-packed full of attacking talent, recruiting Ronaldo could be the final nail in the coffin for the 28-year-old who is wanted by West Ham.
The Red Devils confirmed on Friday: “Manchester United is delighted to confirm that the club has reached agreement with Juventus for the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo, subject to agreement of personal terms, visa and medical.”
Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his interest public in the Portuguese megastar, things progressed extremely quickly and Manchester City promptly withdrew from the deal altogether.
And while Ronaldo’s return gives United renewed title hopes for the season ahead, it is also an ominous sign for those already within their attacking ranks.
Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, Daniel James and Amad all play either on the wing or up top at Old Trafford, even without factoring in their star-studded arrival.
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Ronaldo could have an impact on Lingard’s future (Image: GETTY)
When all is said and done, such a huge and talented contingent may pose too many obstacles for Lingard to battle past in order to gain regular minutes.
His exit now seems logical, although Solskjaer was defiant during Friday’s press conference, saying: “I see him as our player.
“I know there’s speculation about him, but he’s had a very good pre-season and he’s in the England squad.
“It’s just unfortunate that he got COVID before we started as he would have started the first game.”
Perhaps that was a last-ditch attempt by the Norwegian to convince the United academy product to stay, but he will surely know that more regular game time awaits him at West Ham.
Lingard hit an incredible run of form after joining up with the Hammers on loan for the second-half of last season, netting nine goals in 16 league games.
Understandably, boss David Moyes was keen to make the deal permanent, although Lingard opted to give it one last crack at his boyhood club.
West Ham look to be coping well without Lingard, as Said Benrahma has enjoyed a superb opening two Premier League games operating behind the striker.
Lingard and Moyes struck up a good relationship at West Ham last season (Image: GETTY)
However, Moyes is still open to a Lingard return, recently claiming that he can ‘give him a ring’ if he would like to return to east London.
Ronaldo’s blockbuster arrival at Old Trafford is likely to set off a domino effect of transfer activity, and Lingard could be the first casualty.
Others are sure to follow in United’s bursting attacking ranks, with Amad also heavily linked with a loan move away from the club.
As the Red Devils gear up for a whole-hearted crack at domestic and European honours, some are sure to fall by the wayside, and Lingard could do worse than to link up with the manager who drew out his best form last campaign.