Man Utd could sign their own ‘Lionel Messi’ as Cristiano Ronaldo future hangs in balance

Messi world's highest paid athlete with Ronaldo also featuring in Top 10

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Manchester United are reportedly eyeing Paulo Dybala on a free transfer amid the uncertainty over Cristiano Ronaldo’s future. Gone are the days where the Argentina international was tipped to be the next Lionel Messi. However, he could still be a useful asset for Erik ten Hag as he looks to bring success and trophies back to Old Trafford.

Earlier in the year, Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri opened up on Dybala – insisting he got carried away believing he was the heir to Messi’s throne.

“Dybala has to go back to being himself,” said the Italian.

“There was a moment when he got carried away by being the new Messi.

“You cannot copy or emulate someone else. Paulo has a lot to give to football, he has extraordinary technical qualities, but he has to go back to focusing on the latter.”

Dybala was certainly tipped for greatness when he joined Juventus from Palermo back in the summer transfer window of 2015.

But, in recent years, his career has stagnated.

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Dybala struggled to steal the spotlight at Juventus when Cristiano Ronaldo arrived, often struggling for consistency during his final years in Turin.

He netted just four Serie A goals in the 2020/2021 season when he was playing alongside the Portugal international.

But while Dybala, at the age of 28, is yet to fulfil his true potential he could still be a good recruit for United.

Ronaldo wants to go and, while the club have publicly insisted he isn’t for sale, they may have no choice but to let the forward go.

And Dybala, if United can get him back to his best, would certainly be a top replacement.

He had previously been expected to join Inter Milan, having left Juventus earlier in the summer.


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But the Serie A giants no longer see Dybala as a priority after brokering a sensational return for Romelu Lukaku, who has joined on loan from Chelsea.

Liverpool and Arsenal have also been linked with the player, too, but the fact they’ve already bolstered their attacking options complicates a move to either club.

Liverpool have signed Darwin Nunez from Benfica, while Arsenal were successful in prising Gabriel Jesus away from Manchester City.

And United’s need, in comparison, is arguably greatest.

Dybala was once a prolific goalscorer, seen as a player with immense potential during the earlier stages of his career.

And if United lose Ronaldo, then his goals and talent could come in handy.

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It’s also possible Dybala would thrive in a frontline also consisting of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.

Sancho struggled for consistency during his first year at Old Trafford, having moved from Borussia Dortmund 12 months ago.

But hopes are high he’ll be considerably improved after working with Erik ten Hag at Carrington.

Likewise Marcus Rashford, who netted just five times last term amid a problematic campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

Meanwhile, regarding Dybala, former Crystal Palace star Darren Ambrose recently expressed a belief he’d be a good addition for United.

And he also thinks the Argentine could play alongside Ronaldo at Old Trafford, too.

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“I think they should [sign Dybala] if Ronaldo stays,” he told talkSPORT.

“I don’t feel he’s a suitable replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

“He’s a fantastic player but he hasn’t got the numbers that Ronaldo gets, he doesn’t score as many goals. Whether he can do that in a Manchester United side remains to be seen.”

And he added: “But the best thing that can happen to Manchester United with Ronaldo is to put a partner next to him that works hard, and Dybala will do the press, he will do the squeeze, he’s a fantastic player.

“Keep them both. Sign him and play them together, see how that works out.”

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