Manchester United may come to regret keeping Cristiano Ronaldo, as Paul Merson explains why Erik ten Hag faces a difficult task in trying to turn the club’s fortunes around.
The 52-year-old Dutchman has been hired on a three-year deal and faces a monumental task. This season, his new team limped to a sixth-place finish, with several key players underperforming.
With money tight, it’s expected that new signings will be few and far between.
Ten Hag began work at his Carrington base six weeks early due to the magnitude of the task at hand, even attending Crystal Palace’s final match of the season.
Ralf Rangnick, the interim manager at Old Trafford, was not afraid to say what he thought about the team. In an open interview, he stated that the club’s fortunes could be turned around with “up to ten new signings.” Despite their difficulties, he insisted that the club would be able to attract big-name new stars.
Ten Hag, on the other hand, was a skeptic of the wholesale changes theory. Given the financial constraints, he will most likely prioritize quality over quantity, as well as promoting youth.
As a result, Rangnick’s departure from Old Trafford came as no surprise, especially since his role as a consultant never materialized.
Ten Hag’s first assignment was to make a decision about Ronaldo. Despite the fact that he was United’s best player in 2021/22, some believe he will not fit Ten Hag’s style.
As things stand, Ten Hag is rooting for his man, and Ronaldo has thrown down the trophy gauntlet to his new coach.
However, Merson believes it will be difficult to meet Ronaldo’s demands. Furthermore, he believes that United will have such a difficult season that the Portuguese superstar will leave in the summer of 2023.
He told Sportskeeda: “Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the only player at Manchester United who hasn’t been a disappointment this season. His individual numbers add up and he has been their most consistent player over the past year.
“While Ronaldo did score his goals, I don’t think he helped the team much. The new manager’s got a hard job coming up.
“If you keep Ronaldo for another year, that’s another year without much of a plan. If he does well next year and Manchester United come third, it’s a waste – because he’ll leave after that.”