Reports of Cristiano Ronaldo’s desired exit from Real Madrid have dominated the football world since the news of his alleged tax evasion scandal broke last Tuesday.
Earlier in the week, I outlined the one hypothetical way Inter would be able acquire the Portuguese superstar. At the end of the article I mentioned the following:
This may seem cynical, but I work in public relations. If I’m on Ronaldo’s personal team, initiating a transfer saga seems like a really fun way to distract the media from the fact that my client, one of the richest athletes in the world, has been accused of not paying his taxes.
While I still believe the rumors of Ronaldo’s exit are a clever way to take attention away from the tax evasion allegations, I could very well be wrong.
What if the reports are right, and Ronaldo really does want to leave Madrid?
If that’s the case, and his preference of returning to Manchester United is also true, the transfer saga does impact Inter and the club’s plans this summer.
Over the weekend, we provided an update on Ivan Perisic, and discussed what could be causing the delay on his potential transfer to Manchester United. The running theory was that with each passing day, Inter would lose leverage in the negotiations due to the club’s Financial Fair Play needs, causing the asking price for the Croatian to fall.
What if, rather than lowering Perisic’s cost, the hold up on Ivan’s exit is really United assessing the validity of the Ronaldo rumors?
Both wingers preform best on the left side of the pitch, and while Perisic is undoubtedly a quality player (and four years younger than the Portuguese), Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world. If you are Manchester United, and both are available, there’s really only one correct choice here, and that’s to bring the reigning Ballon d’Or winner back to Old Trafford.
Could United be interested in both? Sure.
It’s possible they’d prefer to have the 32-year old Ronaldo lineup as a striker (replacing the injured and departing Zlatan Ibrahimovic), but if Jose Mourinho still views Cristiano as a winger, it would virtually kill any chance of a Perisic deal.
Manchester Untied still have the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial, and Jesse Lingard — all of whom are good enough to deserve playing time. With that in mind, it wouldn’t make sense for Mourinho to bring Perisic in for around €50m, just have him compete with those players for an out-of-position spot in his team.
At this point, Manchester United have no choice but to wait it out on Ronaldo. If he does leave Spain this summer, the superstar going anywhere other than Manchester would be a public and fan relations nightmare for United.
As a result, the Perisic negations are likely delayed for the time being, and the Manchester side could pull out of the sweepstakes altogether. This would have a profound impact on Inter Milan’s transfer window.
First of all, it would mean that Perisic may not leave Inter this summer after all. While that’s either a good or bad thing, depending on which side of the fence* you sit on, if Perisic stays, new manager Luciano Spalletti will have to find a way to repair the club’s relationship with a player that clearly favored a chance to leave.
*I’m very much in the “let’s keep our best players” camp, so I’d prefer to see Perisic stay. Despite his frustrating inconsistencies, Ivan can be a match-winner at times for Inter, and his attacking partnership with Mauro Icardi is something I’d like to see further develop under Spalletti.
It also means that Inter would need to find a way to sell a few other players if they truly want to avoid any FFP-related sanctions. Not to mention, when the club is ready to spend in July, the war chest would be around €50m lighter.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer saga is complicated on many levels, and while it doesn’t directly involve Inter, a Ronaldo-Manchester United reunion does have a tangible impact on the Nerazzurri. A quick resolution to the Ivan Perisic situation is now very unlikely to come, and we can thank CR7 for that.