Ronaldo wants to leave United just one year on from his return to Old Trafford and the 37-year-old is the only player who has not reported to the club’s pre-season training this month due to ‘family reasons’. This means the Portuguese superstar is not involved in the 31-player squad which has jetted off to Bangkok.
Blues owner Todd Boehly is considering launching an extraordinary bid to sign Ronaldo as he and Chelsea director Behdad Eghbali are keeping close tabs on the situation, but will not move for the player unless they receive Tuchel’s blessing.
Ronaldo’s situation has been complicated further as he featured in United’s launch for their new home kit but recorded footage of him alongside David Beckham and Eric Cantona – which had been scheduled to be released at the same time as the new kit – has been put on hold by Adidas until the his future at the club is clarified.
Chelsea are set to complete the £47.5million signing of Raheem Sterling from Manchester City this week to bolster their attacking options, but the loan exit of club-record signing Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan has left a hole in the centre of their forward line.
Tuchel is said by the Mail to be unconvinced by Ronaldo’s addition as he would not be a natural fit in his side’s attack. The manager fears the Portuguese superstar could disrupt their fluid attacking options that include Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic, alongside the addition of Sterling.
This is a similar dilemma to the one United faced last year; the club had an attack including Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, but those plans were shelved with the addition of Ronaldo, which unbalanced the attack – despite his fine personal output of 24 goals for the season.
Tuchel said of the Portuguese star last year: “Time will tell, but I think it is not a secret that any team in the world without Cristiano [Ronaldo] is in some parts of the game a weaker team. He is one of the greatest who has ever played this game, and he proves it every time he is on the field.
“Now [he is] in the Premier League and in the Champions League, so they lost a big champion, a big point of reference and a big personality. But you can win games and be a strong team without Cristiano Ronaldo. This is also true.”