Five ways Man Utd could line up if Cristiano Ronaldo completes shock return from Juventus as Man City pull out of hunt
MANCHESTER UNITED have turned the tables to become the noisy neighbours as they close on Cristiano Ronaldo and help end City's interest in the Juventus superstar.
But how would 36-year-old Ron, who Old Trafford boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed on Friday as "the world's greatest ever" player, fit into the United side if he rejoins?
Solskjaer is already bursting with fluid, flexible options for his attack – with £77million new boy Jadon Sancho is fully fit and Marcus Rashford nearing a return from injury.
And ironically United has been looking for a long-term replacement for Edinson Cavani – aged 34.
But instead £25million-rated Ronaldo is tipped to return.
And here are FIVE WAYS United could line-up if Solskjaer completes an astonishing deal for the ex-Real Madrid ace.
RON TOP OF A TRIANGLE?
Most obvious is Ron sitting at the peak of a triangle – with England young guns Sancho and Marcus Greenwood either side.
Who better to nurture Sancho's flair down either flank and Greenwood's explosive finishing?
Rashford's return would offer Solskjaer a trio of Three Lions purring at the chance to learn and profit from Ronaldo.
That's particularly so as the Portugal icon has himself gone from winger to free-roaming attacker to the wily focal point he now is – emphasising intelligence over energy with his positioning.
Ron's heading would also offer darting menaces like Rashford, Sancho, Anthony Martial and speedster Dan James an exciting incentive to deliver a more direct service.
Rashford for Greenwood – aside Ronaldo and Sancho – looks the likeliest combination if CR7 signs and United have all their forwards at 100 per cent.
But as Greenwood has netted in United's first two Premier League games he would have strong claims to keep out Sancho in the short term.
DRIVING RON THE LEFT?
Ron featuring on the left is a fourth option, with Cavani the main man in the middle and Sancho a more orthodox winger down the right.
Such a combination arguably offers United more punch but less mobility up front.
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Martial would appear to have most to do to break into line-up containing Ron, amid speculation his attitude and enigmatic form have frustrated Solskjaer.
But the Frenchman might be a serious option if Solskjaer prefers closer link-up play with Ronaldo.
THE FIFTH ELEMENT
A more realistic FIFTH XI, though, sees Ron pairing with Cavani – for what some might see as an awesome, ageless strikeforce.
That link-up might impede United's famed counter-attacking at pace from any angle.
But when a goal is needed, with Solskjaer's men raining attacks in the final 20 minutes, those two together could be a dream tactical switch.
And what a dream for mot United fans to even contemplate the potential of Ronaldo returning.
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