Manchester United need to sell two players for the ‘good of the team’, says ex-England midfielder Danny Murphy
After another disappointing season, the Red Devils will try to rebuild at the end of the season.
United struggled under former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and since Ralf Rangnick’s arrival at the end of November, they have continued to flatter to deceive.
With nine league matches remaining, Manchester United faces an uphill battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League. They are now fifth in the Premier League, four points behind Arsenal.
Rangnick’s team was knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid last week, and Murphy feels it’s time to start thinking about the future.
The former England midfielder believes that ‘radical change’ is required at Old Trafford, and has encouraged United to sell Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba.
Since returning to Manchester United this summer, Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, has scored 18 goals in 31 appearances, but Murphy believes he is holding the Red Devils back.
Meanwhile, Pogba has been inconsistent during his second tenure at United and looks ready to leave at the end of the season after contract talks broke down.
‘At Manchester United, something radical needs to happen, even if it means selling big players like Cristiano Ronaldo,’ Murphy told the Daily Mail.
‘When dealing with celebrities on enormous contracts, you have to be careful; it’s best to find other takers before you fall out with them.’
‘However, the wider picture is that United have been without a trophy for five years and need to back a great manager who is in it for the long haul, whether it is Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pochettino, or someone else.
‘Those players will want to do things their own way, so a clear-out, led by Paul Pogba and Ronaldo, makes sense.
‘You can’t doubt Ronaldo’s ability, but he’s 37, and despite his goals, United lacks balance as a unit.’
‘They rely on Ronaldo’s individual brilliance, which works in some games, like as last Saturday’s match against Tottenham, but not against the greatest teams in the Premier League and Champions League.
‘Manchester City and Liverpool have raised the bar so high that United must have both world-class ability and amazing physical output to compete, and the latter is no longer in Ronaldo’s game.
‘In addition to their ability, United’s players must press and compete for 60 matches a season if the club is to reclaim its former glory.’ I don’t think Ronaldo will be a part of it.’
‘Selling Ronaldo will be difficult for United fans,’ Murphy remarked. He’s a hero, and deservedly so, but it doesn’t change the fact that it has to happen for the team’s long-term good.
‘It could be different if Ronaldo had the personality to accept that he won’t be able to play every week, but that isn’t going to happen.’ He’s never had to play second fiddle before.
‘I’m not convinced Ronaldo would take a supporting role if the incoming manager wants Harry Kane.’ He’s already consuming the game time of the younger guys.
‘His presence was supposed to help Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, but their form has deteriorated.
‘Ronaldo is a legendary player, but he isn’t the answer to United’s difficulties. They need a world-class manager, so give him the reins and let him create, even if it means losing a legend.’
Manchester United will return to action on April 2 with a must-win match against Leicester City following the international break.