Man Utd ‘hatch contract plan for five players’ but not Ronaldo

Erik ten Hag on Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Man Utd

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Manchester United are planning to trigger five contract extensions but Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t among them, according to reports. The Portugal international’s current deal is due to expire next summer. Yet though the Red Devils can extend it until 2023, they don’t appear willing to do that at the current moment in time.

Manchester United saw Ronaldo shine last season, with the Portugal international scoring 24 goals across all competitions as the club struggled under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

Yet the 37-year-old has struggled to hit the ground running at Old Trafford this term.

Ronaldo is yet to score from seven outings across all competitions, with the former Real Madrid and Juventus star no longer undroppable for Erik ten Hag.

According to the Manchester Evening News, United are planning to extend the existing deals of David de Gea, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw, Fred and Marcus Rashford.

Yet Ronaldo’s name isn’t among them.

The veteran wanted to leave United in the summer transfer window, having grown frustrated following their disastrous campaign.

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And though he’s ultimately stayed put, it seems like United aren’t planning for the long haul with their No 7 at the forefront of their plans.

De Gea, Dalot, Shaw, Fred and Rashford have all technically entered the last year of their existing contracts at the club.

And United now want to protect their values as their deals tick down.

De Gea is likely to compete with Dean Henderson for a starting berth next term and remains one of the world’s best goalkeepers, despite an inconsistent start to the season.

Dalot has jumped above Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the pecking order, with the Portugal international now finally fulfilling his potential.

Shaw has struggled for action in recent weeks but, with Tyrell Malacia still young, is wanted to stay and fight for his place.

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Fred has been at United ever since 2018 and, though he’s often blown hot and cold, is a useful asset for Ten Hag over in Manchester.

And United won’t want to lose Rashford, who has rediscovered his swagger with three goals from six Premier League outings so far.

Regarding Ronaldo, the Red Devils are reportedly ‘understanding of personal circumstances with older players’.

The Portugal international will turn 38 in February and it’s said any extension ‘would have to be mutually agreed’ when it comes to the superstar.

United are primed to release several players next summer.

Phil Jones is almost certain to be cut loose, with the England international recently banned from the first-team dressing room by Ten Hag.

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Tom Heaton could be cut loose, while Ethan Laird, Teden Mengi and Nathan Bishop are also facing uncertain futures.

Gabriel Agbonlahor, meanwhile, thinks six United players are shining at a time where Ronaldo is struggling to get into the side.

“Man United look a lot better now, they look more organised and like they have a better team spirit,” he said.

“Everyone was calling for Man United to drop Ronaldo and play players who want to press and they are reaping the benefits.

“You look at [Christian] Eriksen and [Bruno] Fernandes in the middle creating and [Scott] McTominay’s looking good.

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“Antony looks like a great signing. [Jadon] Sancho is starting to want to take players on and Rashford is looking like we want to see and thought we had.

“This amazing Rashford is a guarantee for the World Cup with the way he’s playing.

“It’s looking better at Man United. What it has done as well has probably forced [Todd] Boehly’s hand at Chelsea to think ‘If I don’t change this soon we might not make the top-four’.

“There are at least six teams fighting for the top four. There is no reason why Chelsea are guaranteed to get it or Spurs or Arsenal.

“United will be fancying themselves on their recent form to get into the top four.”

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