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Opinion: Why Chelsea and Liverpool will be happy that Ronaldo chose Man United over Man City

Reactions are still trailing Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United. In what is perhaps the most shocking transfer move of the summer, the internet was left agog as Portuguese icon Ronaldo completed a surprise move to Manchester United, returning twelve years after he first departed Old Trafford. It looked like Ronaldo was set to stay at Juventus earlier in the summer, but rumours about his future started spreading like wildfire as he reportedly decided to leave Turin and seek a move elsewhere. A couple of days ago he looked set for a move to Manchester City, but in a swift turn of events, he decided instead to move to the side of Manchester he is more familiar with, and was eventually announced as a Manchester United player.

Ronaldo became United's third arrival this summer after Jason Sancho and Raphael Varane, and his addition has instantly boosted the Red Devils' odds of winning the Premier League. In fact, many feel that with Ronaldo, Man United are now the favorites to win the title.

But I beg to differ, and for good reason.

You see, I don't think Ronaldo's arrival makes United the new favorites to win the league. The reason is simple: Balance.

You may ask, "what do I mean by balance?" Well first of all, let's take a look at the favorites for the league. Traditionally, the big six in england are Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, with the likes of Leicester City lurking around. Arsenal have fallen off the track - they currently lie dead last on the log after three games - while Tottenham have made an excellent start to life under Nuno Espirito Santo but it's too early to bookmark them as title contenders, especially considering that they also started brilliantly last season. So that means the contenders are Chelsea, Man City, Man United and Liverpool.

These four teams possess the best squads in the league. Man United possess arguably the best attack out of these four - Cavani, Ronaldo, Rashford, Greenwood, Martial, Sancho and Dan James, assisted by Fernandes and Paul Pogba. Surely no other team in the league can boast of a better attacking lineup than this. But while Man United have the best attack, they do not possess the most balanced squad overall. This is because there is still one major loophole which they are yet to address - the defensive midfield position.

Credit to Fred and McTominay for the work they've out in for the Red Devils, but Manchester United simply cannot conquer England and Europe with either or both of these two at the base of midfield. Fred is too sloppy, too careless and too imprecise with his passing. McTominay on the other hand, is too ball shy, and he hinders swift transition of the balk from defence to attack. Playing both together still doesn't solve the problem, and moreover it means one attacker will have to forfeit his position. Nemanja Matic would've been ideal for the role, but he is too slow seeing as father time has caught up with him. In short, Man United need a new, quality DM.

By Contrast, Chelsea and Liverpool are very well balanced. There is no position in the team you can point to as being a potential weakness. Chelsea's main problem last season was goalscoring, and in response they signed Romelu Lukaku, one of the best strikers in the world. Liverpool's back line was shaky last season but Van Dijk is back, and they added another quality defender in Kounate. These two teams have successfully plugged their weaknesses, and are now well places to compete for the title.

Manchester City is the fourth contender, and they are the current defending champions. Things will be a lot tougher this season, and one particular weakness which we saw in Pep Guardiola's side was the lack of a focal point in attack; the lack of a pure striker. Pep was fond of fielding several attackers at the same time, playing the likes of De Bruyne, Sterling, Phil Foden and even Gundogan in a false nine role. But while it worked mist times, there were times where they were exposed, and their need for a pure number 9 was laid bare for all to see.

Cristiano Ronaldo would've solved this problem.

No seriously, Ronaldo would've been ideal to solve City's striker woes. He's one of the deadliest frontmen in the world even at his age, and City need a classic poacher to lead the lines for their team to be completely balanced. Ronaldo would've been the perfect fit, and City would have been the undisputed favorites had the Portuguese moved to the Blue side of Manchester.

This is why Chelsea and Liverpool will be happy that Ronaldo chose Man United rather than Man City: it means City remain strikerless, and as such a loophole still remains in the team. United meanwhile may have gotten even more firepower with the addition of Ronaldo, but his arrival doesn't fix their problems in the defensive midfield position.

Man City may well be able to navigate their problem as they have done in the past through the tactical ingenuity of Guardiola, and the sheer quality of their squad. But while United also have a quality squad, they sadly do not possess a manager with as much tactical prowess and nous as Guardiola. Even Liverpool and Chelsea, both of whom have better balanced squads, boast of better tacticians in Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel respectively.

So in summary, Ronaldo moving to United will create less problems for Chelsea and Liverpool, compared to a scenario where he moves to Man City. This is because his arrival at Old Trafford doesn't fix United's biggest problem, and the other teams also possess better managers than the Red Devils. So in my opinion, even with Ronaldo, Man United are still behind Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City as favorites for the league and that may turn out to be the case unless they sign a top quality defensive midfielder. The likes of Yves Bissouma, Wilfred Ndidi, Kalvin Phillips and Tchouameni will be ideal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side but if they persist with McTominay and Fred, I don't see them winning the league.

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Chelsea Jason Sancho Liverpool Man United Ronaldo


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