Former Juventus striker Paolo Di Canio has questioned Manchester United’s move to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.
Di Canio feels while Ronaldo’s transfer will be a financial asset off the field, there will be some tough questions to answer on the pitch.
Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport’s podcast ‘In The Box’, the Italian said: “I am one of those looking at this move and thinking: ‘He is back where he began his incredible career’.
“However, I need to consider everything. It’s a great move for merchandising, for Ronaldo and Manchester United’s visibility.
“Ronaldo will improve United’s technical level, but he joins a team with many strikers and wingers.
“(Ole Gunnar) Solskjær said he sees him as a centre-forward, but Ronaldo didn’t want to do it at Juventus.
“I still see him starting on the left, but United have other players in the same position, including Jadon Sancho, who was paid €85m but has been struggling to settle in so far.”
“There is enthusiasm, but it remains to be seen if Ronaldo will be a cumbersome presence as Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) was.”
“Sometimes young players without much personality didn’t understand he wanted the best from them.”
Di Canio has raised some pertinent questions for Solskjaer.
The Red Devils are rather heavily stacked in the final third with first-team choices Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho all vying for a spot in the front three, and this is before we consider Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata.
Daniel James moving to Leeds United has reduced the numbers, but United still have Amad Diallo at Old Trafford after an injury scuppered his loan move, and he will also need to be accommodated.
On the surface, this means Ronaldo is joining a team that’s already crowded up front.
However, the advantages of having a player like Ronaldo on and off the pitch can easily outweigh the problems it causes numbers-wise.
United are expecting to challenge across all fronts this season, and having Ronaldo’s quality available means more effective rotation when United will be playing two or three games a week.
Arguably United need midfield reinforcements more than they need a striker, but a player like Ronaldo is only available a couple of times every decade.
United could easily sign a midfielder in January, or next summer, when they will be expected to strengthen in any case.
Ronaldo may not guide United to a title this season, but a lot of the analysis around his future impact has been needlessly negative.
Read Also: Cristiano Ronaldo says he is ‘happy to be home’.