Erik ten Hag’s striker preference explained as Cristiano Ronaldo wanes for Man Utd

Man Utd 'close in' on deal for ten Hag as new manager

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Erik ten Hag’s preference for a striker could spell trouble for Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United, according to reports. the 52-year-old is poised to take over at Old Trafford come the summer. And the Red Devils are hopeful his appointment can act as a catalyst for better times ahead.

According to The Athletic, Ten Hag likes a ‘dynamic’ centre-forward.

And with Ronaldo starting to wane at the age of 37, it’s possible the Portugal international will be demoted to a rotational role at United next season.

When the veteran returned to Old Trafford back in the summer, after 12 years away, many thought he’d pick up from where he left off.

Originally he did, bagging a memorable brace in a 4-1 win over Newcastle that temporarily put United top of the Premier League table.

But Ronaldo, over the course of the campaign, has regressed.

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He was a shining light during the final weeks of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign, netting nine goals across all competitions.

But while he’s netted nine more under Rangnick, they’ve come in just six separate matches.

It’s clear the veteran, for all his goalscoring talent, isn’t the player he used to be.

And with Ten Hag preferring to play with a ‘dynamic’ striker, it’s hard to see where the Portugal international fits in.

If United fail to qualify for the Champions League, it’s possible their No 7 will choose to quit for a new challenge elsewhere.

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However, widespread reports have suggested he’s ready to stay at United for another year at least.

After all, he won’t want his second spell at the Theatre of Dreams to be considered a stain on his career.

Ronaldo has been successful everywhere he’s been ever since leaving Sporting Lisbon as a teenager back in the summer transfer window of 2003.

He won three league titles during his first spell at United while strutting his stuff under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ronaldo evolved to new levels at Real Madrid, winning four Champions League titles during a nine-year stint.

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And while his final season at Juventus was flat, he still propelled the club to two league titles beforehand.

Meanwhile, Rafael van der Vaart has reacted to news of Ten Hag having an agreement with United.

And he’s hailed the development, saying: “Ten Hag to Manchester United? It’s nice.

“You don’t let a club like Manchester United wait.”

Van der Vaart does think, however, that United players will be ‘thrown out’ if they fail to cooperate with what Ten Hag wants.

“These players (#MUFC) can’t have any excuses anymore,” he added.

“They made so many managers leave while they are playing so bad.

“Now they get a manager who will be very clear and will present his plan. Those who won’t cooperate will get thrown out.”

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