Early Friday morning, Manchester United felt they had to act. It wasn’t just about Manchester City potentially taking one of their legends and racking up all the perks of being one of the best players of all time – before they even got to football – albeit it does. was obviously part of it.
It was primarily the Old Trafford hierarchy that weighed in on the benefits to the club and things that had long been considered in those 12 years. It has always been referred to as “Ed Woodward’s dream”. It was something that was always mentioned in his friendship with Jorge Mendes. Some sources have referred to a “gift from the Glazers to fans” given everything that has happened. A certain cynicism is perhaps justified. the.
This ultimately meant United intended to match any City offer.
The prospect of Ronaldo crossing the road was so dreaded that many of his former teammates started trying to get in touch with the Portuguese and ask him what he was doing. Rio Ferdinand confirmed he had called him. Others speak of a “united push of the old boys”. United were already moving, however. Bruno Fernandes and Sir Alex Ferguson himself were already making openings. The former director was involved in the center.
Whether one of their greatest legends actually went to City will remain one of those unanswered questions. It is nonetheless relevant to know how it all happened.
The principles of an agreement between Mendes and the English champions were agreed on Thursday. Ronaldo wants to have a chance of winning the Ballon d’Or and the Champions League again, so he would at least have been open to the possibilities. It’s modern football. This is something to think about in this signing, given that the two greatest players of modernity were essentially too expensive for their former clubs, and then had extremely limited top options. This is why many sources insist that Ronaldo was ready to go to City. Others claim he was holding out for United, and argue that Mendes was simply working in his client’s best interests. On Friday morning, Ronaldo’s former team-mates were talking enthusiastically about how it all actually was to try and flush out his former club.
Whether that’s true or not, it still points to the biggest lesson in this story. It is a Mendès masterclass. Given developments in other abandoned transfers, one of those involving City, this is also a lesson in ensuring proper super-agent representation for deals of this magnitude.
The resulting cynical question is whether United would have actually chosen Ronaldo had it not been for the real danger of City catching him. Some in Italy think Mendes has just “created a market”, as well as a sense of urgency.
They finally adopted, this decision being taken Thursday evening. The feeling of resignation could be seen in Pep Guardiola’s own press conference. The feeling of excitement could be seen in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It was an unusual modern transfer in this regard as it was a manager who correctly confirmed a lot of the chatter behind the scenes. Until then, there had only been talks about United. No one fully confirmed it. Solskjaer did this, and there was always a feeling he was holding something back. They had.
The independent have been informed that United have already made the decision to match whatever City are offering. “We’re going to do it,” said a prominent member of the WhatsApping staff enthusiastically. “So it’s up to the man himself to decide. “
Talks with United have gone well and have advanced at a rapid pace. Ronaldo was happy with the personal conditions. The clubs quickly reached an agreement. The word from Manchester is that it is 15 million euros with 8 million euros in top-ups. Sources in Italy spoke of a higher amount and up to 28 million euros. The “value” debate is almost irrelevant here, however.
On the one hand, more superficially, United is buying a commercial giant. A relatively routine home game against Newcastle United is now the biggest spectacle in town. United are in turmoil again. They are again the center of the football world.
It’s something people don’t like to discuss, but it has influenced thinking at Old Trafford. City would have reaped incredible benefits from signing such a star. The impact Paris Saint-Germain had from buying Lionel Messi was visible. United felt they had to do their best not to allow that to happen.
Most importantly, they sign one of the greatest forces on the pitch. This is what it is about. Ronaldo always specializes in something that the game ultimately is. He guarantees 20 goals per season. He did it for 12 consecutive years. He has won trophies in 15 of the past 16 seasons.
He might not be what he was. But he remains an excellent footballer. He will find a solution in so many matches. Would United have slipped against Southampton with him, for example?
There are other questions to accompany these solutions, beyond whether he would have gone to City. How close is he to his best? Is he even better than Edinson Cavani at this point? United really need him? Does he even make a team much better at this point?
How are United going to work with so many forwards? Does it suit Ronaldo that Solskjaer doesn’t have as defined a form as Guardiola would have? Does Solskjaer have the necessary balance for this team?
Should that money have gone to number six the Norwegian wants so badly? Is this the gift that can allow Solskjaer to finally win a trophy? Does this really put more pressure on Solskjaer?
Is there any risk in signing a 36 year old man whose mobility has been restricted by knee problems? Is there a danger that he is another Alexis Sanchez? Is it a regression to United’s more reductionist all-star signings just when they seemed to have managed to put together a suitable squad? How motivated was he about Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain? How much can United earn with him?
How good can he still be?
Some of these questions are relevant and unfortunately undermine much of the understandable excitement that this signing has generated – but they also underline just how fascinating it is.
This is the dominant feeling right now. This purchase gave United something that no other club on the planet – a bar maybe Sporting – could have bought.
It is exhilaration. It is optimism. It’s the return of their greatest hero. Maybe the fact that City’s move is so close makes it all the sweeter.
United have probably moved closer to a title. Now it all depends on what we’re all here for: what Ronaldo does on a pitch. Now is the time that really matters. Then we will have the real answers.