Ralf Rangnick is ready to leave a decision on Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United in the hands of incoming manager Erik ten Hag, but he is prepared to admit that the Red Devils need “two or three new strikers next season”.
A Portuguese superstar at Old Trafford has faced questions of his value to a collective cause in 2021-22, but has still plundered 23 goals to keep an inconsistent outfit in the hunt for European qualification.
There have been suggestions that he will walk away from the final year of a lucrative contract once the current campaign comes to a close, but interim boss Rangnick – who will be sticking around as a consultant while also taking the reins of the Austria national team – is reluctant to be drawn on whether a five-time Ballon d’Or winner will still be a United player in 2022-23.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo stay at Manchester United?
When that question was put to Rangnick by Sky Sports ahead of a Premier League clash with Brentford, the German tactician said: “This is a question you need to ask Erik ten Hag.
“He's showed that he can still be a vital part of this team, but it's obvious the team needs some more strikers. There should be two or three new strikers next season, it's pretty obvious.”
Has Rangnick spoken with Ten Hag?
Rangick is yet to discuss Ronaldo with Ten Hag, with no talks of any kind having taken place between United’s head coaches of the present and future.
Quizzed on whether he has spoken with a man seeing out the current campaign at Eredivisie title hopefuls Ajax, Rangnick said: “I'm pretty sure he's got my phone number!
“He's got another couple of games to play with Ajax, we have another three games to play here. Whenever he wants to speak with me and exchange our opinions, I'm more than happy to do that.”
How many players will Manchester United sign in the summer?
Transfer plans need to be drawn up by United at some stage over the coming weeks, with it important that they do not leave themselves playing catch-up when another window swings open.
Investment over recent years has delivered little return, as the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City have shown how it should be done, but Rangnick believes the gap to arch-rivals can be closed sooner than many people think.
He has said of recruitment by the Red Devils: “If you think of Manchester City and Liverpool, they brought in [players] every transfer window.
“They strengthened the team, they brought in players not that popular at the time when they signed and developed into the two best teams in the world.
“I wouldn't be surprised if they play in the Champions League final in a few weeks. This shows it is possible that this can happen and it would not necessarily need three, four years in order to do that.”