Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag expects Cristiano Ronaldo to stay with the Premier League club this season as the transfer window closes on Thursday.
Ronaldo and his future have been the talk of the summer market after the 37-year-old demanded a move away from the club in search of Champions League football.
With Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes failing to find a new suitor, however, it seems that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is destined to continue wearing his iconic number ‘7’ shirt at Old Trafford – which is also something that Ten Hag expects.
“It’s clear, of course. We need quality players,” the Dutchman said when asked about his forward staying put on Wednesday.
“You need more to cover all the games to keep the consistency going, that’s what we strive for.”
According to reports, however, Ronaldo has put a potential loan move to Napoli on ice in the hopes that Chelsea will still come in for him.
The Blues are said to have turned Ronaldo down earlier this summer as coach Thomas Tuchel didn’t believe his profile fits the West Londoners’ squad.
With a deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang possibly cooling down due to the Gabonese striker suffering a broken jaw during a home invasion that will keep him sidelined for a month, it is believed Tuchel could have a change of heart.
That United and their manager are planning for Ronaldo to stay, though, has also been made clear by other remarks Ten Hag made on the club not buying any more players before deadline day as deals are being completed for Martin Dubravka.
“For this window, it will be the end,” stated Ten Hag.
“You always have to be alert at a top club. But we will go from September to minimum January with this squad.”
The Athletic reports that Ten Hag has challenged Ronaldo in private to thrive on his watch and has expressed a belief that the player can play a “substantial” role in the squad this season.
In recent days, a previously sulking Ronaldo’s demeanor has supposedly been “more promising.”
Just as he was regarding Ronaldo, Ten Hag was tight-lipped on his former Ajax charge Antony and refused to “go too deep into that” about the Brazilian’s arrival in northwestern England on a €100 million ($100.75 million) deal as “the paperwork is not done”.
Up front, Ten Hag was clear that “we need to strengthen our squad”.
“We have many games to cover – from now on we go in three games a week,” he noted.
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“Especially from offensive players, they are quicker fatigued because they have to run more and run with higher intensity. We need numbers there, we need not just quantity but quality,” he stressed.
Ten Hag made his comments ahead of a clash with Leicester City at Old Trafford on Thursday where Ronaldo will look to make his second start of the season or be benched for the third match running.