Man Utd make decision on Antoine Griezmann swap deal as Cristiano Ronaldo saga goes on

Erik ten Hag discusses Cristiano Ronaldo's future

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Manchester United have ruled out a swap deal involving Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann at this stage, according to reports. The Red Devils’ No 7 is keen to leave Old Trafford for a team playing in the Champions League. And, despite his Real Madrid past, Atletico Madrid have emerged as potential suitors for the forward.

Manchester United saw Ronaldo return to Carrington on Tuesday after the veteran had missed their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.

He arrived with his agent, Jorge Mendes, before then holding talks with the likes of Richard Arnold, John Murtough and Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo’s position remains unchanged, however. He’d never played in the Europa League and, at the age of 37, has no plans to start now as he enters the twilight years of his career.

And The Athletic have confirmed Atletico’s interest in a deal.

It’s claimed United are also aware that Griezmann is available, though that’s a rather complex situation.

Atletico must buy the France international permanently next summer, with the World Cup winner currently on loan from La Liga rivals Barcelona.

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They could bring that forward, however, before then cutting him loose.

Yet United, while they’ve admired Griezmann in the past, have ruled out a swap deal for the time being.

Griezmann was on the club’s radar back in the summer transfer window of 2017, when Jose Mourinho was in charge.

Mourinho saw the 31-year-old as the ideal replacement for Wayne Rooney at the time, who left shortly after skippering his side to Europa League glory.

United were convinced they’d land their man, with Paul Pogba even flirting with the possibility of playing with Griezmann at club level on social media.

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But, in the end, a move failed to materialise.

Atletico were slapped with a transfer ban and Griezmann, knowing the La Liga side would be unable to acquire a replacement for him, ended up staying put.

Just about every year since, United have been linked with the former Real Sociedad hitman.

Yet they’re not open to swapping Ronaldo for Griezmann, with the club still adamant the Portugal international will be staying put.

United will play Wrexham in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday that will be held behind closed doors.

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But Ronaldo is ‘unlikely’ to feature in that match due to the fact he’s only just returned to Manchester.

There’s also said to be doubt about whether Ronaldo will be involved in upcoming matches against both Aletico and Rayo Vallecano.

And whether he gets his wish of a move away is, ultimately, something only time will tell.

Meanwhile, speaking to Genting Casino, former United star Jaap Stam called on his side to clarify Ronaldo’s situation as quickly as possible.

“Well, you don’t want to have too much confusion within the squad straightaway, especially when you’re starting as a new manager,” he said.

“You’re working with one of the best players in the world. He’s been doing very well, last season scoring a lot of goals.

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“I was hoping that Ronaldo was going to stay because I think he could be very important for the club.

“I think Ronaldo is still one of the best players at United. Even when he’s not scoring, he’s always making the opposition aware of him and they always need to pay him a lot of attention which creates opportunities and space for other players.

“I assume that ten Hag spoke with him about the new season. I don’t know exactly what happened, but it looks like Ronaldo wants to make a move and play somewhere else next season, which I think is a shame.

“If the player has said that he wants to leave, although it’s very tough for the manager and for the club and especially for the fans, then the situation doesn’t need to drag on that long.

“United need to make a decision as a club and find a way to deal with his departure. The manager needs to build his squad and understand who he will be working with.

“United don’t want to be in a situation where they have been using other players up front, and those players that have been performing are all of a sudden dropped because Ronaldo didn’t get his move and he needs to play.”

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