Who will Sir Alex replace Ronaldo with?
The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has paved the way for Sir Alex Ferguson to revamp an already successful squad.
Seemingly, the Scotsman will now have over £80 million to spend on new signings with the Glazers insisting the decision was not an enforced financial sale, but one taken by the manager.
Maybe Ferguson decided it was time to let the temperamental Portuguese winger go, and cash in on him while Real Madrid were still willing to pay big money for the World and European player of the year. Criticising the manager’s tactics after the final in Rome, the departure of Ronaldo comes as no real surprise and takes the ‘Biancos’ spending to over £130 million.
Missing what many United fans would describe as the key member of their squad, certainly offensively, Ferguson will now surely splash the cash on a few flair signings. It would be a surprise if he decided to rely on the likes of Nani and Park to replace the 24-year-old next season.
Carlos Tevez has declared his future lies away from Old Trafford, but with cash in hand, the Argentine may remain in the red side of Manchester after all. According to speculation Manchester United are now willing to cough up the required fee to sign Tevez permanently, rumoured to be around £25 million. But it remains to be seen whether Ferguson would abandon his tactics of using the tenacious Tevez as an impact sub, and hand him a regular starting role.
One player who has flirted with the Red Devils is Karim Benzema. Seen by many as France’s hottest prospect, the Lyon number nine scored an impressive 23 goals this season. Playing as a lone striker he might flourish where last season’s big money signing, Dimitar Berbatov has failed.
Should the Frenchman arrive, a Rooney and Benzema partnership would be a prospect to relish. It would have the potential to be as deadly as the Gerrard-Torres duo just down the M62. Fans would hope he could emulate the impact Eric Cantona had on the club.
Another Frenchman who has also been touted as a possible summer signing for the English champions is Franck Ribery. One of Europe’s most sought-after players, with Chelsea and Barcelona also rumoured to be interested in securing the winger’s services. According to a report in The Guardian last month, Manchester United were preparing a £63 million pound offer dependant on the departure of Ronaldo.
The Frenchman is quoted as wanting a move away from Germany, and Old Trafford could be his preferred destination. Should he sign he would replace Ronaldo as the highest paid player at the club as he currently earns around £134,000 a week. Missing out on the Bundesliga title this season, the Bayern Munich star could be set for a switch to England and would be an ideal replacement for Ronaldo.
Another player linked consistently throughout the season with a switch to United is Wigan midfielder, Antonio Valencia. The 23-year-old has been the Lactics’ star player since arriving at the JJB Stadium. A fee in the region of £16 million would suffice in luring the Ecuadorian to Manchester.
The departure of Steve Bruce to Sunderland may have been the final straw for the talented winger, as reports suggest he wants a move away from the JJB. Indeed Wigan may be wise to cash in, with two years left on his contract, but the player would be able to buy out his contract should he wish so.
Whoever Ferguson brings in, there is no doubt the 67-year-old will relish the prospect of rebuilding another great United team like he did with his 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99 and 2007-08 sides.