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Chelsea and Napoli main contenders to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in January

Chelsea and Napoli are the main clubs interested in signing Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo in January, according to Sport (today’s edition, page 26).

Ronaldo was keen on leaving the Red Devils at the beginning of pre-season amid his desire to play Champions League football for a 20th straight campaign.

A number of high-profile clubs were linked with his services throughout the summer, but he eventually stayed put with no concrete offers for United to consider.

This has not ended speculation over his future, however. As per Sport, Ronaldo could be allowed to leave for free when the transfer window reopens in January.

Chelsea continue to be mentioned as candidates to sign him. They tried to pursue his services over the summer only for manager Thomas Tuchel to block an approach.

With a new manager in Graham Potter at the helm, it is reported that the Blues could benefit from the good relationship between owner Todd Boehly and Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes.

Meanwhile, Napoli are also deemed contenders to sign the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. The Serie A outfit believe Ronaldo’s arrival in Naples would have a great impact in various aspects.

The 37-year-old will provide a big financial boost commercially, but Napoli also feel they could bolster their chances of lifting the Scudetto as well as progressing further in the Champions League.

Man Utd must not allow Ronaldo to join Chelsea

Ronaldo has had a difficult 2022/23 season under manager Erik ten Hag. He is no longer a regular starter in the Premier League while the goals have also dried up for him.

This does not necessarily mean that he is declining quickly. The £18 million-rated star could easily revive his goalscoring form if he has the assurance of a consistent starting spot.

Both Chelsea and Napoli could offer him that. Ronaldo could be a leading striker for the Blues while he could play in a front two with Victor Osimhen if he were to join Napoli.

However, United must avoid the prospect of losing Chelsea midway through the season. The Blues are currently one of their main rivals to finish in the Premier League top four.

Hence, the hierarchy should not grant him a free transfer unless he is moving abroad. That may also depend on whether they can find a suitable replacement this winter.

Ten Hag is unlikely to allow Ronaldo to head for the exit door with just Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as his strikers. Martial has already picked up three injuries this term.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com

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