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Where will Cristiano Ronaldo play next?

Perhaps it was always destined to end in tears but the manner of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United will forever be a nasty stain…

Perhaps it was always destined to end in tears but the manner of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United will forever be a nasty stain on this great club. When Erik Ten Hag arrived at Old Trafford it was clear the Portuguese superstar did not fit in with his vision of the football he wanted the club to play. Ronaldo found himself isolated, left embarrassed on the bench and only given bit parts and he infamously refused to play in one match with only minutes to left on the clock. His action of leaving that game early and heading off to the car park and going home spelled the end.

Ronaldo takes nothing from United in terms of a pay-off and is losing £16million in wages to which he would have been entitled. I have been contacting clubs to discover which might be interested in signing him. Chelsea owner Todd Boehly had lunch two weeks ago with Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes and I know the possibility of signing the striker for the Blues was discussed. Coach Graham Potter however has told his boss that he does not want Ronaldo. Newcastle has also been mentioned and the club did not deny interest. Only big Premier League clubs such as Chelsea and Newcastle could afford the 37-year-old’s wages for the next couple of years. Ronaldo wants to play on until he is forty and is in excellent shape. He hopes the World Cup will highlight his talents once again and draw interest from the major clubs. I have left the most mouth-watering possibility until last. Paris Saint-Germain are certainly considering the possibility of linking Ronaldo with Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. They are stars who match Ronaldo in status and a link up with players of their quality could go either way… such talent could work for the club giving them the most lethal strike partnership on the planet or the whole thing could implode because of big egos and cause the coach and club huge problems.

Zaha could be the answer for Mikel Arteta

Arsenal enjoyed a positive start to the season after completing their plan to strengthen both forward and defensive positions. In order to preserve their top of the table position and push on into 2023 Mikel Arteta has board approval to make more acquisitions in January. The Gunners need a midfielder and a winger because both Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have had to start almost every game and the coach is worried about the pair burning out. Arteta is exploring the possibility of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha solving his wide area options. Zaha is known to desire a move to a big top six club and could be approached in January. Palace have verbally offered him an increase on his £130k a week wages but have not forwarded this in writing. Much of the Palace success is based on Zaha’s ability and he is one of the most feared opposition wingers in the Premier League capable of taking on and beating defenders and scoring goals. Zaha has always supported Arsenal from childhood. Arteta is also aware that his home nation the Ivory Coast did not qualify for the World Cup and therefore the winger will be fresh and capable of performing until the end of the season and could easily make a big impact from day one if he signs. 

Ten Hag given new powers at United

Manchester United have at last been put up for sale by the American Glazer Brother owners for a staggering £8billion. I will write more on that next week when I have visited Manchester and gone behind the scenes. In the meantime United have learned a lesson from the disaster surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo. Over the past few years United have listened to advisors, interested parties and ex-players and managers about which players to sign. Sir Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand, for instance, both encouraged the signing of Ronaldo and outgoing chairman, at the time, Ed Woodward also claimed to have used his contacts to get the deal done. From now coach Erik Ten Hag will choose which players he wants to bring into the club and a 37-year-old Ronaldo, even with his exceptional ability, is not what he wants. The proof is clear because Ronaldo was constantly left out of the side and this caused much of the problem surrounding his sacking. Erik Ten Hag intends to use Anthony Martial in a key role after the World Cup following Cristiano Ronaldo leaving. Ten Hag is working with players who are not appearing at the World Cup and Martial has been discarded by French manager Didier Deschamps. Ten Hag organised a practice match with several youth team players drafted in to make up the numbers. However, Under-18 upcoming star Dan Gore took things too seriously in a desperate attempt to impress Ten Hag. He harshly tackled Anthony Martial who was sent sprawling across the grass. Martial got up and shouted at Gore, pushing him and the two squared up before being pulled apart. Ten Hag later explained to Gore that during practice games it is not allowed to make aggressive tackles on senior star players and Gore duly apologised to Martial.

Smith Rowe injury improving

Relax Arsenal fans, Emile Smith Rowe is on the mend. He is planning to return to first team duties in January after suffering a bad groin injury which required surgery. Arsenal travel to Dubai in December for warm weather training and Smith Rowe is expected to be part of their squad. The 22- year-old will not start training immediately but will join in at the end of the trip. He initially felt discomfort in September and it was a joint decision between the club and player for him to undergo an operation.

No thank you says Pep

Pep Guardiola was busy watching Formula One motor racing and was interviewed on the starting grid where he told a TV crew that he was on holiday and did not want to discuss football. That was Sunday and on Monday he was glued to a TV screen to watch England defeat Iran in one of the opening games. Guardiola is busy keeping track of Kevin de Bruyne and praying he stays injury free as Manchester City chase Arsenal after the World Cup. On Wednesday he signed a new deal to coach City until 2025.

Still no contract agreement for Mason Mount

Mason Mount is currently playing for England in the World Cup but back at home there is uncertainty regarding his future at Chelsea. Mason is out of contract in 18 months and renewal negotiations have been put on hold until after the World Cup. Liverpool and Juventus have taken note that Chelsea and Mount have been talking since August with no sign of a deal being agreed. Mount is one of the lowest paid players at the club. The two sides will now not meet until January. Mount has been at Chelsea for his entire career and is a Blue through and through. Chelsea want to keep him but Mason has watched both Reece James and Armando Broja earn new improved deals. Owner Todd Boehly and coach Graham Potter have talked about Mount possibly becoming captain in the future however he is not impressed with what is on offer so far. Chelsea are in a difficult position as they need Mount in their side and lost both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers last summer and Thiago Silva, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho’s contracts expire at the end of this season.