Fabrizio Romano’s debut column for CaughtOffside takes a look at recent speculation surrounding big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Mount, Christian Eriksen and more as we edge closer to the summer transfer window.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s future and Manchester United’s hunt for a new striker
Where else to start my column than with someone who remains one of the most talked about players in world football – Cristiano Ronaldo. There are always headlines about the Portuguese superstar, but he is not in the process of deciding his future right now. His contract is valid for another year and his hope is to stay at Manchester United, but only if Erik ten Hag is really sure he can believe in Cristiano as the key player for next season’s team.
This will require a conversation between Ten Hag, Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes before deciding on the future. So far, there are no signs of problems from those who are close to Ronaldo – but only the expectation of definitive clarity.
As Ralf Rangnick recently hinted – why wouldn’t there be a role for Ronaldo in Ten Hag’s team? After 24 goals in 37 games in all competitions this season, he has carried this United team in what has been such a challenging season. Age is only a number, especially when it comes to one of the greatest footballers and most dedicated and professional athletes of all time.
My understanding is also that Cristiano would have no problem accepting the arrival of another striker on the market – Man United will 100% sign a new central striker but this is not linked to the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. There is an obvious need to replace Edinson Cavani, whose contract is about to expire, while there are also issues with players like Rashford and Martial, who aren’t providing enough goals for the club at the moment. More on Rashford below…
Marcus Rashford’s Old Trafford future up in the air
Marcus Rashford has been considering his future since February, along with his agent. The player has not made a final decision and is waiting for a direct dialogue with Erik ten Hag before he can understand the next step.
Rashford’s priority is to remain at Man United only if he will have guarantees of game time, Marcus wants to be important for the club and hopes for the World Cup with England. Ten Hag will decide together with the player.
So far there have been no negotiations with any other clubs, but only an interest of Paris Saint-Germain for the last year. In the summer of 2021 he was on the list as a potential replacement in case of Kylian Mbappe leaving for a transfer to Real Madrid.
One key factor, however, is that his name was specifically requested by manager Mauricio Pochettino, who now has no guarantees of staying in Paris after a disappointing season. This is why the situation is still open.
It should be remembered that Rashford is under contract with Man United until 2023, but there is the option of a clause to extend his contract until 2024.
West Ham face Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen interest
Away from Manchester United, there is no question that West Ham are going to be a club to keep an eye on this summer. After their tremendous improvement under David Moyes, they may have to fight to keep two of their best players.
Jarrod Bowen continues to impress, and has been a name under consideration on the Liverpool board for a long time now. The club have been monitoring him for years, but for the time being there has not been a proposal to West Ham or the player’s agent. It’s also clear that Bowen himself is not currently thinking about a move because his focus is to the Europa League and the final part of the season.
As I said, Liverpool like him a lot. Don’t rule out other clubs getting involved, but for now my understanding is that Man United are not in the race, despite some speculation elsewhere. The Red Devils are not in the final player selection process until Erik ten Hag makes final decisions.
Of course, West Ham’s plan is to keep Declan Rice this summer despite the midfielder’s refusal to renew his contract; The England international midfielder has rejected the third proposal for a new deal with West Ham – he has always been respectful with the club and the fans, but his ambitions are open to a possible move in the future.
For Jarrod Bowen everything will depend on the possible offers that come in for him, and won’t necessarily hinge on whether or not the Hammers also end up losing Rice.
Mason Mount and Chelsea’s ongoing issue with sanctions
There’s been some speculation about Mason Mount’s situation at Chelsea, but I don’t think Blues fans have too much to worry about, despite the uncertainty surrounding the club ownership.
Mason Mount’s priority has always been to stay at Chelsea. There are no doubts about his commitment, but certainly his situation is to be monitored like those of Marcos Alonso, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.
In fact, all these players have been waiting for months to discuss the extension of the contract with Chelsea but there have been no changes; the sanctions have slowed down the contract renewal process.
Mason Mount’s contract remains pending but it will be one of the priorities for the club to extend the agreement with him and with N’Golo Kante, while Alonso has a good chance of returning to Spain. As of today, Mount is not in negotiations with Liverpool or Man City.
What a story the last year has been for Christian Eriksen, but what next?
Christian Eriksen is extremely respectful towards Brentford who believed in him at a difficult time in his career. That is why the first club to have a meeting with their agent Martin Schoots will be Brentford at the end of the current season, also because there is no automatic contract extension clause until 2023.
There are three Premier League clubs that are well informed about Eriksen’s situation: Tottenham and Leicester are keeping tabs on it, but have not yet made any proposals because everything will depend on Christian’s decisions, who asked to wait for the end of the season. The third club is still secret.
Inter Milan has the biggest regret: Simone Inzaghi and the entire board of the club wanted to keep him but for the Serie A rules it was impossible given the medical intervention that Eriksen had to undergo.
We see now that that is Italian football’s loss, as Eriksen has been a joy to watch in the Premier League, and, whatever happens with him this summer, this remarkable comeback story will continue, most likely in England, next season.