While this summer’s transfer rumors were headlined by the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, and David de Gea, one man’s transfer request has successfully unhinged the entirety of the footballing world. Real Madrid’s global icon Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly looking for a new club amid speculation of tax fraud in Spain. This news has intrigued supporters of countless clubs across the world, but the list of potential landing spots for Ronaldo remains limited.
A return to Manchester United seems to be the most logical fit for the thirty-two year-old Portuguese superstar. United are one of the few clubs who have the means financially to sign Ronaldo. However, it may take more than just a hefty transfer fee to satisfy Real Madrid.
With United showing interest in Madrid’s Alvaro Morata and Madrid showing interest in United’s David de Gea, it’s possible that a player swap could be a part of Ronaldo’s move back to England.
Manchester United are perennial contenders for signing the world’s finest. Last July, United made a splash by adding the charismatic Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and setting the world football transfer fee record with the purchase of French midfielder Paul Pogba. While difficult to accomplish, it seems that United are aiming to make an even more impactful signing this year. There are but a handful of athletes in the world more recognizable than ‘Ibra’ and Pogba, but United are pursuing one of them in Ronaldo.
Ronaldo’s move will overshadow a number of other great transfers, ones that in any other transfer window would be front page news. Monaco’s eighteen year-old prodigy, Kylian Mbappe, is likely to make a move this summer. Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool have all been linked to the French international over the past few weeks.
Monaco are requesting more than £100 million, having already turned down bids in the range of £87 million from Arsenal and Liverpool. With Ronaldo’s expected exit from Madrid, Mbappe could be groomed as his replacement either up top, or on the wing.
Over in London, rumors are swirling regarding the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Sanchez is likely heading for Premier League rivals Manchester City while Ozil is threatening an exit in hopes of a raise in wages. Arsenal won’t be able to afford new contracts for both players, and with Sanchez’s public desire to leave the club, Ozil appears to be the one staying with the Gunners.
As for Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, all signs are pointing towards Chelsea as his new home. The Premier League Golden Boot runner-up is now awaiting Everton’s agreement to the final terms of a deal with the Blues. With the Lukaku transfer nearly secured, it could have serious implications for some of the other Chelsea attackers.
Diego Costa has expressed his willingness to return to Atletico Madrid, a move which may look more enticing upon Lukaku’s arrival. Michy Batshuayi, who had a challenging enough time competing for playing time last season, will almost certainly be the odd man out after the Lukaku deal. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has already shortlisted him as one of the players he’d like to loan out this season. Look for him to end up at a club where he can be a first-team player.
Across the remainder of Europe, PSG’s Marco Verratti, Barcelona’s Jordi Alba, and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette have been in transfer talks. Verratti and Alba are wanted by Jose Mourinho at Manchester United and Arsenal have already made an offer of more than £40 million for Lacazette.
World class players will be on the move this summer. Ozil, a World Cup winner and Premier League assists leader, could find himself a new home come August. Sanchez, fresh off of a twenty-four goal campaign, may sport new colors next season. Lukaku, a strong, young attacker with a knack for goal-scoring, is all but guaranteed to wind up with a new team. All of these transfers, and many others, will be overshadowed by the decision of just one player.
When Cristiano Ronaldo finalizes his transfer, it’s going to be bigger than any other signing in the history of the sport. Thousands and thousands of shirts with ‘Ronaldo’ printed on the back will bear a new crest (or perhaps a familiar one). One team will gain the support of the Ronaldo fanbase, more than one hundred million strong. And the world will anxiously await his first match, his first goal, his first dazzling moment that’s simply ‘Ronaldo’, at his new club.