Cristiano Ronaldo in profile
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Cristiano Ronaldo is back at Manchester United. It’s a sensational transfer that has sent shockwaves throughout the footballing world. And it could have big consequences for five players, too. Express Sport will now take a look at those who may now be primed for a change of role.
Mason Greenwood: CF to RW
United have seen Mason Greenwood shine so far this season.
The England international has scored three goals in as many Premier League matches, with his latest coming against Wolves on Sunday.
Greenwood has, predominantly, been played down the middle so far this season – the 1-1 draw with Southampton aside.
Yet, with Ronaldo likely to occupy the No 9 role, the teenager may now be shifted out wide instead.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, with the 19-year-old equally as capable of playing on the wings as he is down the middle.
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Jadon Sancho: RW to LW
Jadon Sancho also joined United this summer, moving from Borussia Dortmund in a huge £73million transfer.
And he’s another whose role could change now Ronaldo has sealed an emotional homecoming.
Sancho has been brought in to play on the right but the unexpected return of their former No 7 may now change things.
It’s possible the 21-year-old will be deployed on the left instead, with Greenwood on the right and Ronaldo then strutting his stuff down the middle.
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Paul Pogba: LW to CM
Paul Pogba has been in outstanding form on the left wing.
But he’s now likely to be moved back to midfield, especially when Marcus Rashford returns from shoulder surgery.
Pogba could still be given freedom to go forward, particularly after registering five assists from his opening three matches.
Yet when it comes to playing out wide, his days now appear to be numbered.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer already seems to have that in mind, having used the midfielder in his natural position against Wolves on Sunday.
Edinson Cavani: CF to bench
At the end of last season, Edinson Cavani was United’s first-choice centre-forward.
However, things are now likely to be altered with Ronaldo set to be deployed in the No 9 role instead.
So that means Cavani having to accept more time on the bench.
That likely won’t please the Uruguay international, especially after he opted to extend his contract back in May.
But Ronaldo is back. So Solskjaer is unlikely to care too much.
Anthony Martial: Bench to fourth-choice striker or exit?
Anthony Martial’s time at United also appears to be winding down.
Though he came off the bench against Wolves, it’s clear Solskjaer no longer considers him as a deadly No 9 capable of starting both matches.
So that begs the question: What now?
Martial now seems to have moved from third-choice striker to fourth-choice.
And there’s even a possibility he’ll leave the club by the time the transfer window shuts tomorrow.
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