Manchester United are stuck in a weird place – a sort of footballing limbo between a problematic recent past and hopefully a brighter future.
However one of the issues that they will have to address is where these two were crossovers. What is worth bringing forward from failures fresh in the memory and still worthy of a place in the summer rebuild.
An incredibly pressing issue is the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. Firstly will he be here next season and secondly do United want him to be?
Having a goalscorer of the Portuguese forward’s prestige is a handy tool to have, but if he remains do United want him to be the central piece of a rebuild that will extend long after his contract expires next season?
But Ronaldo might make the decision for United.
Footballtransfers.com has stated that Ronaldo’s recent trip to Portugal was to plan out a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
Such speculation will only increase if United’s bid for a top-four spot continues to flounder, given Ronaldo’s desire to remain at the top for a number of seasons and compete for the best trophies. He may look to move away if United do not match his ambition or give him the opportunity to do this.
But while Ronaldo could be heading to PSG, a key piece of the puzzle for United’s rebuild could head in the other direction.
Mauricio Pochettino has long been linked with the Old Trafford job and it seems that this summer presents the best chance for him to finally take the hot seat.
PSG sporting director Leonardo has cast doubt over the Argentine leaving Paris, telling L’Equipe: “We’ve never thought about changing our manager. We’ve never contacted [Zinedine] Zidane or anyone. I can say that Mauricio Pochettino has never asked to leave. I have no problem with him. We talk about everything.”
But PSG have shown before that they can change their minds quickly and usually any big decisions they make over the manager revolve around the Champions League. It just so happens that on Wednesday, the Ligue 1 giants have the second leg of their last-16 encounter against Real Madrid.
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PSG are 1-0 up on aggregate and Pochettino put together a solid gameplan against a Madrid team who were looking to draw. The return leg is likely to be a much more open game and, if the French side lose, their head coach’s position is sure to come under scrutiny.
Erik ten Hag is also a potential option but, if United decides to pursue Pochettino, seeing Ronaldo go the other way would open up the possibility of signing a striker more in line with the sort of player he wants leading the line.
Who do you want to be the next manager of Manchester United and do you think Ronaldo stays next season? Follow our United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter and get involved in the discussion in the comments section below.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.