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Does swapping Cristiano Ronaldo for an Atletico striker solve anything for Manchester United?

Well yes and unfortunately no...

Brentford FC v Manchester United - Premier League
After a free scoring pre-season, Manchester United have failed to score (a non own-goal) in the Premier League so far this season with Cristiano Ronaldo in the side.
Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ is an excellent song by The Clash, it could also be the theme tune to the Cristiano Ronaldo saga at Manchester United this summer.

The Portuguese striker, obviously waking up in cold sweats at night after dreaming about coming out of the tunnel to Europa League music, has been actively seeking a move away from Old Trafford throughout the summer.

United’s stance throughout this has been Ronaldo is not for sale, with Joel Glazer unwilling to part ways with his cash cow, but it has become increasingly apparent that it would be best for Erik ten Hag, who originally was happy to work with the forward, and the squad if he left. The issue is nobody wants him.

Jorge Mendes has been jetting around Europe, meeting with clubs and offering them the chance to invest in his 37-year-old client who is obviously declining and would demand massive wages; unsurprisingly the takers are slim.

Chelsea, Bayern Munich, both Milan clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona just to name a few have listened to the pitch and unanimously replied ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’

The issue is the only loser in this scenario is United; they have to pay Ronaldo’s wages and probably force him into the lineup despite him systematically breaking all the good things that Ten Hag is trying to implement.

But there still might be a small flicker of hope amidst the darkness.

If Ronaldo was to leave, United would need a replacement. And late last night (for fans in the UK anyway), Laurens Juliens stated that United were interested in bringing Matheus Cunha to Old Trafford and this was later validated by Fabrizio Romano who said that the Brazilian was high on the club’s shortlist of strikers.

Cunha played 1053 minutes last season in La Liga and registered six goals and four assists which is a solid return. He plays more like a second striker alongside another forward but this could be adapted by Ten Hag into a sort of false nine (hopefully Pauly agrees with me there).

The Athletic had also linked United with a move for another Atletico striker, Alvaro Morata, who has surprisingly started the season with a bang, scoring a brace against Getafe. Whether these moves could come to fruition is unclear but if they do they could offer an interesting solution to United’s Ronaldo problem.

Where everybody else went ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ to Ronaldo, Atletico flinched. Instead, they replied ‘Actually you know what maybe,’ if reports in Spain are to be believed. The issue is whether the club can stump up the funds and the wage cap space to facilitate the humungous wages that United’s ‘famous number seven’ would command.

So could a swap deal be a possibility?

It seems a fair comment to make, with Atletico gaining a striker to add to their already stacked rotation of Joao Felix, Angel Correia, Cunha and Morata. With the World Cup in November, regular minutes are gold dust. So despite United not having Champions League football, an uncontested striker spot could be a tempting proposition.

United would likely have to stump up some cash in the deal, given that Ronaldo is not worth what he used to be. But does either striker solve the club’s glaring problems?

The issue is this seems like United are entering panic mode. And by seems like, I mean they definitely are in that phase right now.

They have a ‘global star’ openly unhappy at the club and the expectation is that whenever he presents United with an offer from another club to leave, even if it is on the final game of the window, they will have to let him go.

But even without the problematic Ronaldo question hanging over their heads, the club only has a limited budget to address a mountain of issues with the squad, in the midfield, the goalkeeper, and other positions in the forward line.

Ten Hag is trying to implement his tactics and turn things around; steady the ship so to speak, but the hull, unfortunately, has holes in it. And though at the moment a lot of the talk is about White Star Lines (the Glazers) and their negligence in the creation of the Titanic, it won’t be long until Captain Ten Hag is forced to take the blame.

So maybe United do manage to part ways with Ronaldo; maybe they do sign either striker from Atletico Madrid in his place. There is still a long way to go until the issues that have been prevalent in the first two games get addressed.