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Cristiano Ronaldo flies in for talks on his Manchester United future

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag: Ronaldo dilemma ahead of new season.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag: Ronaldo dilemma ahead of new season.© PA

Ian WhittellTelegraph.co.uk

Manchester United insist that Cristiano Ronaldo remains in their plans for the upcoming Premier League season as reports last night claimed the forward’s return to Manchester is imminent.

Talks with the unsettled Ronaldo are set to take place in the coming days with Erik ten Hag also back in Manchester after a 17-day pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia.

The 37-year-old Portuguese star has been absent from United’s entire pre-season campaign to date due to “family reasons”.

But United, and new manager Ten Hag, have been unwavering in their position throughout that they expect Ronaldo to honour the second year of the contract he signed on returning to the club last summer. United’s stance has not wavered at all, and they will play “hard ball” in those face to face negotiations.

Ronaldo had let it be known that he wished to pursue his career with a club involved in the Champions League this season. A number of rivals, led by Chelsea and Bayern Munich, distanced themselves from a potential move for Ronaldo although Atletico Madrid has emerged as a potential landing spot for the star.

Ronaldo has also reportedly indicated that he would take a considerable salary cut in order to pursue his career elsewhere. However, United have been consistent in their position from the start of the uncertainty that they will not entertain offers for the forward.

The club declined to comment on Ronaldo’s whereabouts yesterday but remain entrenched in their efforts to keep him in Manchester and in their plans for the new season – a practical position, given their lack of depth up front.

Anthony Martial, recalled from a four-month loan spell at Sevilla, has impressed in pre-season but United remain light in the striker department and would need to sign a replacement should Ronaldo eventually force a move out of Old Trafford.

Ronaldo has remained in private training in Portugal during his absence but, with his club kicking off the new season at home to Brighton a week on Sunday, it appears unlikely he would have the necessary match fitness to figure in that fixture, even if he does remain at Old Trafford.

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