Manchester United ‘interested in Benjamin Sesko and Dusan Vlahovic as replacements for Cristiano Ronaldo’… while Erik ten Hag sets his sights on signing a striker with the Portuguese forward poised to leave Old Trafford
- Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with Manchester United expires in the summer of 2023
- The Portuguese attacker has previously asked for a transfer away from Old Trafford
- Benjamin Sesko has already signed with RB Leipzig, but United may be willing to wait
Erik ten Hag gears up to replace Cristiano Ronaldo as Manchester United begin to prioritize a move for a new striker.
The Portuguese legend is out of contract at the end of the season and has not been shy about making his intentions clear after making a transfer request this summer.
And according to the Telegraphhis club is exploring options to fill the Ronaldo-sized gap to appear in January or next summer, with RB Salzburg’s Benjamin Sesko high on the shortlist.
Man United are planning a life without Cristiano Ronaldo by looking for a new striker
Ronaldo’s United return last summer initially looked to be more than just a nostalgia-fueled attempt to appease a rapidly soured fan base, with the forward scoring 24 goals in all competitions last year.
But this season, the relationship has turned toxic, with a high-profile feud with Ten Hag against Tottenham in October.
However, the search for a new number 9 is not merely a result of Ronaldo’s desire to leave the club. He was brought in as a 36-year-old and would never become the player United built for the future.
Ronaldo scored 24 goals last season but only scored three this season as his contract expires, which expires in 2023
In addition, the inconsistency of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial’s woeful injury record has already left them short of reinforcements.
Given their very overt approach to Marko Arnautovic – a move that did not sit well with their supporters – United would have taken a different approach, preferring a long-term solution rather than a short-term one.
And having started rebuilding the leaky defense with the signings of Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia, and reinforcing the lack of brilliance in midfield with the additions of Christian Eriksen and Casemiro, a striker is the logical next step.
Erik ten Hag’s successful acquisitions last summer will have served him well on the board
Those successful takeovers in the summer of 2022 will certainly have served the Dutchman well on the board, especially when compared to some of the dubious things the club has done under previous managers.
The Slovenian star of Salzburg has caught the attention of almost all teams in Europe, but he has already signed a contract with sister club Leipzig, which will see him join them next summer after a loan spell in Salzburg.
As a result, it would take quite a hefty bid from all sides to evict him from his new home. But the Red Devils are thought to be willing to bide their time, he is so highly regarded at the club.
Benjamin Sesko, 19, is one of the most highly regarded young forwards on the continent
Sesko has scored six goals in 24 games this season and has already scored four times in 15 games for Slovenia
Salzburg’s well-trodden path to the Bundesliga has also seen the rise of one Erling Haaland who now names United’s nemesis Manchester City – and Ten Hag’s side are reportedly keeping a close eye on his progress.
But he’s not the only starlet they’ve got their eye on, with Dusan Vlahovic also on their radar as they look to reinvigorate a sometimes bloated offensive lineup.
Vlahovic – bought from Fiorentina earlier this year to bolster Juventus’ attack after Ronaldo’s departure in the summer of 2021 – was also of interest to Premier League rivals Arsenal before joining the Old Lady.
Dusan Vlahovic is also on United’s radar, having only joined current club Juventus this year