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Manchester United begin preparing for life without Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United has been thrown into doubt in the last couple of weeks and rumours of his exit were fuelled when he was left out of Erik ten Hag’s 31-man squad for this summer’s tour.

Ronaldo is yet to return from vacation and has asked to leave the club this summer after just one season despite signing a two-year deal last August.

The 37-year-old is the only out-and-out striker at the club and should he depart this summer, there is not an obvious deputy lined up to fill his boots.

Anthony Martial has returned from his loan spell at Sevilla and the Frenchman will hope to resurrect his Old Trafford career under Erik ten Hag, with Edinson Cavani falling victim to a mass clearout last month.

It is, however, being suggested that United could be planning for a future without Ronaldo as their star man.

Read more: Erik ten Hag tried to keep Man Utd star before summer departure

According to The Athletic, amid uncertainty around Ronaldo, United are sounding out possible replacements for the Portugal international.

They add that the sudden developments of Ronaldo’s desire to leave caught the club off guard and they have made calls this week over replacements.

Publicly, United’s stance on Ronaldo has been that he’s not for sale. But The Athletic report that privately, that stance is not as unwavering and ‘many’ people doubt that’s the case.

The news of United gauging forwards over Europe comes after it emerged that they had been offered the chance to sign Brian Brobbey from RB Leipzig, who spent last season on loan at Ajax under Ten Hag.

SN’s verdict…
There are no two ways about it – United need to sort Ronaldo’s future out as soon as possible. They cannot allow it to affect the start of the Premier League, which kicks off a week earlier than usual due to the oddly scheduled World Cup.

Losing your top scorer is never a blessing but considering last season was the club’s worst-ever finish in the Premier League, rebuilding completely might not be the worst thing.

The issue is that should Ronaldo leave, signing a replacement is paramount and United seem to have acted quickly on that front.

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