When it comes to Cristiano Ronaldo replacements, Manchester United appear to be ready to start eyeing them. Robert Lewandowski, Victor Osimhen and Alejandro Broja have all been linked with moves to Old Trafford in recent days. But Jamie Vardy could be the answer, with the Leicester star previously dubbed ‘better’ than Ronaldo by ex-Tottenham striker Darren Bent.
Manchester United were rocked when it emerged Ronaldo wanted to leave the club this summer.
The Portugal international had previously indicated he was willing to stay and work under Erik ten Hag but, now, his future is very much up in the air.
If Ronaldo does end up leaving, amid interest from Chelsea and Bayern Munich as well as Paris Saint-Germain, it will leave United with a villa on their hands.
Just who is capable of replacing the Portugal international? While his talents are waning, the 37-year-old remains as prolific as ever as he enters the twilight years of his career.
But Vardy could be one route worth going down.
The Leicester star has just a year left on his contract at the King Power Stadium, with no renewal currently in sight.
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Vardy, like Ronaldo, is approaching the end of his career. But his statistics remain impressive and, if he was to go alongside compatriots Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, he could scale new heights.
Earlier in the season, Bent said Vardy was a better No 9 than Ronaldo. He said: “Yeah, Vardy’s better than him.
“In terms of Premier League, Vardy. At centre forward, I’m going Vardy.
“Ronaldo’s only recently been playing as a number nine, Vardy’s been doing it the whole time.”
Whereas the likes of Lewandowski, Osimhen and even Broja would all cost United a fair whack, Vardy would be a cheaper option.
Given he’s got just a year left on his Leicester contract, that’s something that could work in the Red Devils’ favour.
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Vardy scored 15 league goals last term from just 25 matches in the competition, rocking up four assists in the process.
He netted the same amount the previous campaign, from more matches, while also registering nine assists from 34 league games.
Vardy won the Premier League golden boot award two years ago, with 23 goals in the top flight.
And if he was to move to Old Trafford, for a discounted fee, that would enable the Glazers to use their funds to reinforce other areas of their squad instead.
Most of United’s budget is likely to be used on Frenkie de Jong, with negotiations with Barcelona for the 25-year-old still very much ongoing.
They’ve already spent £13million on Tyrell Malacia, who has joined from Feyenoord to become the first signing of the Erik ten Hag era.
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And United also want to wrap up a deal for Lisandro Martinez, with the Ajax star also attracting interest from Arsenal.
And they’re on the lookout for a new goalkeeper, too, in the wake of the decision to loan Dean Henderson to Nottingham Forest.
Regarding Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand has expressed sympathy for the veteran and believes his decision to leave United is understandable.
“Anyone who wants to win football matches or trophies, anyone who is used to winning and competing every year at the top of the table for the biggest prizes, and then all of a sudden isn’t – and doesn’t even qualify for the Champions League – you can’t sit here and expect them to be happy,” he said.
“He’s not happy with missing out on the Champions League, he doesn’t even know what the Europa League soundtrack sounds like!
“When that comes on, he’s going to be thinking ‘what dance am I in here?’”
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And he added: “I’ve been seeing people being a touch disrespectful, the way that people are questioning ‘he’s not here’ and the hysteria surrounding it.
“A member of his family is not well, so he’s not at training.
“This is the most consummate, most professional athlete that we’ve seen on these shores. The most professional athlete we’ve seen for over 15 years and people are questioning this guy’s professionalism and why he’s not at the training ground.
“Yeah he might want to leave, he might not be happy with certain things at the football club, but in terms of professionalism, this guy is training where he is – we’ve seen the pictures.
“His family are there, he needs to be where they are and you have to respect that. Simple as.
“Could it have been communicated better by the club? Probably.”