Report: Ronaldo's wantaway antics softening Ten Hag's tough transfer stance
The attacker submitted a transfer request in early July and subsequently missed the club's preseason tour to Thailand and Australia. New manager Erik ten Hag was initially keen to keep hold of Ronaldo despite him wanting to leave, but the Dutchman is now believed to be open to granting the 37-year-old's exit, even though United are short of options up front, according to The Athletic's Adam Crafton and others.
His reintegration into the squad has reportedly been challenging. The rest of the United team returned to England buoyed by strong performances in its overseas friendlies, but Ronaldo has threatened to harm that morale while he occasionally eats alone in the canteen and expresses frustration at Ten Hag's high-pressing approach during training sessions, sources told The Athletic.
Ronaldo then apparently exasperated United's coaches when he failed to acknowledge United's traveling fans following Saturday's humiliating 4-0 defeat at Brentford. It's understood Ronaldo's concerning behavior comes despite being given greater freedoms at the club than his teammates.
Ten Hag is focused on taking any negative factors out of the dressing room following last season's poor sixth-placed finish and a wretched start to this campaign, ESPN's Rob Dawson reports. However, despite some behind the scenes now thinking it's best that Ronaldo leaves, the club itself has reportedly dismissed claims that it will terminate his contract and remains adamant that he'll be part of Ten Hag's group after the summer transfer window closes on Sept. 1.
Ronaldo, who scored a team-best 24 goals in all competitions last season, will face greater competition for a starting berth for next Monday's visit from Liverpool. Anthony Martial has returned to training after sitting out United's losses to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford with a hamstring issue and appeared rejuvenated during preseason workouts under Ten Hag.
Amid the continued uncertainty over Ronaldo's future, PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo and Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata are being considered to potentially strengthen the frontline, according to Dawson. United's underwhelming transfer activity was apparently one of the main factors behind Ronaldo's request to leave, in addition to his wish to continue chasing individual records in the Champions League.