Transfer news - Cristiano Ronaldo still needed at United; Chelsea sign Fofana

Erik ten Hag seems to signal that Ronaldo will still be at Old Trafford after the deadline

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag rejected any suggestion the impending arrival of Antony is an indication that Cristiano Ronaldo is surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

A deal is in place for United to sign the Brazilian forward from Ajax in a transfer worth a fixed fee of £80.6million, with a further £4.2m in add-ons, agreed between the two clubs.

With medical and player terms still to be finalised before the transfer window shuts on Thursday evening, former Ajax boss Ten Hag was tight-lipped about a swift reunion with Antony.

But Ten Hag insisted the signing merely augments United’s attack ahead of the club beginning their Europa League campaign next week, rather than a portent that Ronaldo may leave the club this week.


When directly asked about Ronaldo, who has settled for substitute roles in United’s last two matches and has been linked with a move to a Champions League club, Ten Hag said: “It is clear, we need quality players.

“You need more and to cover all the games to keep the consistency going, that’s what we strive for.

“Especially from offensive players, they are quicker fatigued because they have to run more and run with higher intensity. We expect that from them and our way of play.

“We need numbers there, we need not just quantity but quality.”

United have also been strongly linked with a move for Martin Dubravka and Ten Hag does not anticipate any more incomings if they complete deals for the Newcastle goalkeeper and Antony, having already brought in Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro this summer.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s trip to Leicester, Ten Hag said: “Firstly I have to sign (Antony). There’s an agreement between the clubs but the paperwork is not done so I cannot go too deep into that.

“For this window it will be the end (after Antony and Dubravka) but when there is a great opportunity you have to always be alert as a top club.”

United started their Premier League campaign with a humbling home defeat against Brighton before being humiliated at Brentford, losing 4-0, as they sat bottom of the standings after two fixtures.

But their fortunes have changed in the last couple of weeks after edging out fierce rivals Liverpool and then Southampton, and they can make it a hat-trick of successive wins by beating the Foxes.

It has been almost a year since United, who will once again be without French forward Anthony Martial because of an Achilles injury, last won three in a row in the Premier League.

Assessing their recent uptick, Ten Hag said: “I see it as a start we now have a good base. This is the minimum we have to bring.

“I was happy to see the turn and we have to keep the spirit and keep this winning mentality because you need it if you want to have a successful season.”

Leicester have endured a miserable start to their season, taking just one point from an available 12, but Ten Hag refused to take anything for granted ahead of United’s trip to the King Power Stadium.

Ten Hag added: “Their identity is really good to see, they play really good football so we have to be really good to get a result there.”

In other transfer news, Chelsea have completed the transfer of defender Wesley Fofana from Leicester City, both Premier League sides said on Wednesday, with the Frenchman signing a seven-year contract with the west London club.

Financial details were not disclosed but British media reports said the deal was worth £70 million.

“Wesley is a hugely promising defender who has already proven his quality in the Premier League at a young age,” Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly said.

“We are delighted we were able to bring one of Europe’s most exciting talents to Chelsea and further strengthen that area of our squad, both for this season and many more to come.”

The 21-year-old had made the switch to the Premier League in October 2020, joining from Ligue 1 side St Etienne for a reported fee of up to £36.5 million.

During his two seasons at Leicester, he made 52 appearances in all competitions, including 37 in the league and 11 across two European campaigns.

In his debut 2020-21 season, he was named as the club’s Young Player of the Year after helping Leicester win their first FA Cup, performing well in the final against Chelsea.

“The two last days have been really big days for me and I’m very happy,” Fofana told the club’s website

“I trained this morning with the team and it’s a dream for me. I’m very excited to start playing games for the fans and the club.

“I’m here to win trophies - the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup (League Cup), everything... The club is built to win trophies so I’m here to continue that.”