Manchester United are preparing to face Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday in the Premier League. Interim manager Ralf Rangnick's men are lagging behind in the race to finish fourth. United are sixth in the standings, four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, having played a game more.
Meanwhile, Kevin Phillips believes United star attacker Cristiano Ronaldo's future at the club could depend on the next manager. Elsewhere, Noel Whelan has lauded the Red Devils for deciding to renew Bruno Fernandes' contract.
On that note, here's a look at the key Manchester United transfer stories as on 29th March 2022:
Cristiano Ronaldo future depends on next manager, says Kevin Phillips
Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips believes Cristiano Ronaldo’s future could depend on how well he integrates into the incoming manager’s plans. The Portuguese has endured a difficult season since arriving at United from Juventus last summer.
The Premier League giants are currently searching for their next manager. Ronaldo’s future is also up in the air ahead of the summer. There have been reports claiming that the Portuguese could be willing to stay at Old Trafford for another season. However, Phillips is convinced the final decision would be taken after Ronaldo considers the new manager’s plans.
Speaking to Football Insider, the Englishman tipped Ronaldo to leave if he is no longer guaranteed a place in the starting XI, saying:
“Yeah, possibly (Cristiano Ronaldo’s future could change depending on the incoming manager). You always say that no one is bigger than the football club, but perhaps there’s an exception when you’re talking about him and Messi – because he’s a huge draw. He’s made it quite clear that he gets upset when he’s not playing, as we’ve seen this season. And when Ronaldo gets upset, people listen,” said Phillips.
“He’s a huge figure, and it’ll be interesting to see whether he wants to move on. He’ll have a keen eye on who comes in as manager, and that could really make up his mind on whether he wants to leave."
Ronaldo is United's top scorer across competitions this season, with 18 strikes. However, he is all set to endure a first trophyless campaign in 12 years. If United fail to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League, the 37-year-old could cut short his Old Trafford stay, despite his contract expiring next summer.
Noel Whelan lauds Manchester United for renewing Bruno Fernandes' contract
Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has praised Manchester United for their decision to tie Bruno Fernandes down to a new deal.
As per Fabrizio Romano, the Portuguese has agreed a five-year contract extension, despite uncertainties at the club. His current deal expires in 2025.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said that Fernandes continues to be an important player for the Red Devils. He said:
“Yeah, that’s a really important bit of business. He’s been a huge player for them since he’s come in, and his goal and assist record has proved that as well. He’s such a talented player, and they really need him in that side. Man United need that creativity and that goal threat from midfield."
“No, it hasn’t been the best season for him – but it’s been a very poor season from everyone at Old Trafford. To get him tied down, knowing they probably won’t be in the Champions League next season – that’s incredible."
Fernandes has bagged 49 goals and 39 assists in 117 games across competitions for United since arriving in January 2020. That includes nine goals and 14 assists this season.
Louis van Gaal advises Erik Ten Hag to turn down Red Devils
Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has advised Erik Ten Hag not to take charge at Old Trafford. The Ajax manager is one of the frontrunners (as per Manchester Evening News) for the hot seat at the Premier League giants.
At a press conference, the Netherlands manager labelled the Red Devils as a commercial club, saying:
“Erik ten Hag is a great coach, and that is always good for Manchester United, but Manchester United is a commercial club, which is a difficult choice for a coach. He would be better going to a football club. I'm not going to advise him; he can call me himself. But he must choose a football club and not a commercial club."