During the summer transfer window, Manchester United signed Cristiano Ronaldo for the second time. After leaving Juventus for a sensational return to the Premier League, the Portuguese were greeted with much fanfare.
Ronaldo has made an immediate impression at Old Trafford. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner continues his scoring exploits for the Red Devils, having scored nine goals in all competitions this season.
Despite consistently scoring for the team, the attacker’s arrival has not resulted in Manchester United becoming a better team. On a serious note, the Red Devils have regressed since signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
Many have questioned whether signing him was the right decision in the first place. The warning signs were present from the start. It was clear that Manchester United had simply hijacked the attacker’s transfer to Manchester City in order to make a point to their rivals.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing was completely unnecessary given the attacking options available at Old Trafford and the fact that the Red Devils had numerous gaps to fill. In fact, it would have been more logical to sign any of the five players listed below instead:
Number 5: Declan Rice
Manchester United clearly needed to sign a defensive midfielder during the summer transfer window. The Red Devils have been linked with a number of players, including West Ham’s Declan Rice.
Their plans quickly changed after they entered the race for Cristiano Ronaldo’s signature.
They’ve suffered as a result of that poor decision this season, and they’re in desperate need of a dependable option to protect the defense. Declan Rice would have been an excellent choice for that role.
The Englishman is currently the Premier League’s best defensive midfielder. He can even fill in as a third center-back if the situation demands it.
Number 4: Kieran Trippier
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently experimented with three men at the back, but the system hasn’t worked out well due to a lack of players who can execute it flawlessly.
Atletico Madrid defender Kieran Trippier is one such player, thanks to his ability to impress in attack as well as defense.
The 31-year-old is eager to return to England and would have jumped at the chance to join the Red Devils over the summer. Trippier has played in the Premier League before.
He has made 107 appearances in the English Premier League for clubs such as Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur.
Number 3: Eduardo Camavinga
Another player Manchester United could have signed instead of Cristiano Ronaldo is Eduardo Camavinga. During the summer transfer window, the Red Devils were linked with a move for the former Stade Rennais midfielder but were unable to secure his signature.
On transfer deadline day, the Frenchman joined Real Madrid for €31 million. He’s had a good start to life in Madrid, having made 11 appearances for Los Blancos so far, scoring once and assisting on another.
Eduardo Camavinga would have made an excellent addition to Manchester United’s squad. The 21-year-old impresses by controlling the tempo of the game, passing well, and not being afraid to make crucial tackles.
He is a hard worker on and off the ball, as well as an aggressive presser, which the Red Devils currently lack.
Number 2: Yves Bissouma
Yves Bissouma has impressed with Brighton in the Premier League this season. The Malian has made seven Premier League appearances, scoring one assist.
Instead of signing Cristiano Ronaldo, the Red Devils could have made more sense by signing the Brighton star. Particularly given Fred’s recent struggles and the fact that Paul Pogba’s contract will expire at the end of the season.
Bissouma is currently one of the best players in his position in the Premier League. Although he does not contribute much in attack due to his deep-lying role, the Malian is a very well-rounded player with excellent technique. He is also a hard worker, covering a lot of ground and fending off all kinds of opposition advances.
Number 1: Erling Haaland
Even if Manchester United required a focal point in attack, signing a 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo was not the best option. It would have been more meaningful to go all-in on luring Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund to Old Trafford.
That would have been a present-and-future transfer. Erling Haaland, who is only 21 years old, has already established himself as one of the best goal scorers in the world and is only getting better with age.
So far this season, the striker has 13 goals in nine appearances for Dortmund in all competitions. Last season, he finished as the Champions League’s top scorer with 10 goals, and he finished the season with 41 goals in as many games.
Since their time together at Molde, Haaland and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have had a good relationship. Mino Raiola, his agent, also has a good relationship with Manchester United, which could have aided in negotiations.