Harry Kane’s decision to stay at Tottenham Hotspur has once again changed the landscape in Manchester City’s pursuit for a new striker.
The Spurs star had been the club’s No.1 target, and it did seem as though at one point a deal between both parties was inevitably going to be struck.
But Spurs chairman Daniel Levy remained robust in his stance, making negotiations difficult to progress. The result of which was the England captain’s announcement this week confirming he’s set to say in North London.
City now find themselves in a problematic position.
Pep Guardiola’s has clearly wanted and expected the arrival of a new centre-forward, yet options are limited. The champions might be a draw for almost any player across the continent, however only a select few truly have the capacity to improve their threat in attack.
Erling Haaland isn’t yet an option and the door has now slammed shut on Kane, therefore it’s no surprise that a move for Ronaldo is looking more prepossessing by the day.
The Juventus superstar’s future is uncertain and he has been linked with a move away from Turin for pretty much the entirety of the summer. He was left on the bench in Juve’s league opener against Udinese at the weekend, further adding fuel to speculation that he’s set to depart.
Ronaldo’s problem though is that not many sides have the financial mite to sign him, and in fact, it’s hard to think of another top European side beyond City who could.
Perhaps 12 months ago, Paris Saint-Germain could have been a suitable destination, yet their signing of Lionel Messi makes such a move near impossible. United have been tentatively linked, but again that looks unlikely given their summer business, whilst Real Madrid have eyes for Kylian Mbappe and cash-strapped Barcelona can just about afford to pay the players already on their books and no more.
Another issue for Ronaldo is that at 36, he’s not the superstar talent he once was. In his prime, he was a maverick all-round attacker, capable of dribbling, creating and shooting from just about anywhere inside the attacking third.
However, he’s been forced to adjust his game in the latter stages of his career, focussing almost all of his energy on attacking actions inside the penalty box, with little work outside of it.
The result of this is that he continues to be a ruthless goalscorer — highlighted by his total of 101 goals in just 134 appearances for Juve, which includes 29 goals in 33 appearances across the campaign just gone — yet that goal tally comes at a price from a team perspective.
Ronaldo’s lack of all-around influence away from solely scoring goals means he’s not worth the outlay it’d cost to bring him to the club for most other sides. Even those at the very top of the game can rarely afford such a luxury and would need more for their investment.
At City though, it’s different. They already have a near-perfect attacking infrastructure in place, thanks to the likes of Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne. Building moves that progress towards the opposition’s goal is rarely an issue, but having the right player to finish them is.
Ronaldo can be that man, even if only for the short term. Therefore, whilst more long term targets can be explored and pursued, the truth is that if a deal for the former United man can be done, then it should be.