Good deal? Bad deal?
It's the transfer story of the summer - but is Cristiano Ronaldo's proposed £80million move to Real Madrid good business for Manchester United? On Thursday morning the Old Trafford club revealed they had accepted a world record bid for the Portuguese star and a deal is set to be completed by the end of the month. Ronaldo's future at United has been the subject of constant speculation, with Real having trailed his signature for the last three summers and despite his talent, there have been constant rumours that he has been causing unrest in the dressing room. So does an £80million sale represent good business for Manchester United? Will the end of the speculation be good for the team? Will Ferguson have replacements lined up? Or is the FIFA World Player of the Year simply irreplaceable. Sky Sports News was all over the story as soon as it broke and some of the biggest names in football gave us their views on the news. Here is what they had to say... Tommy Docherty (Man Utd manager, 1972-77)I think Sir Alex has come to the conclusion - and he's quite right - to get rid of him because the same problem's going to arise next year and the year after. I sit at home giggling sometimes when managers say a player is "not for sale at any price" - and a fortnight later he's gone. Every player has got a price and if a club is prepared to pay that price then he will go. If you fall out with Sir Alex, you're on you're bike. You can't have this disharmony brought upon the players and the club every year and I think United will cut their hands off for £80million and give Real Madrid the problem of handling Ronaldo from now on. I think it's fantastic business; it was £40million, then £50million and now it's £80million. I think they should cut their hands off and run - and don't even consider it at all. Tony Gale (Sky Sports expert)I don't think it's good business. If you're going to let someone go - and it must have come as a bit of a surprise to Sir Alex - you normally get someone in beforehand. What they're effectively doing is letting every club in the world know they've got £80million sitting in the bank, so the price of (Antonio)Valencia or (Franck) Ribery or whoever they decide to replace him with has automatically gone up. It's not United business and I don't think Sir Alex will be pleased with this one bit. We all thought United were bigger than this, we all thought United could keep hold of a player that was worth this amount of money. It just shows you that everyone needs the money at the moment. Mickey Thomas (Man Utd player, 1978-81)Eighty million is a lot of money for any player and I don't think the club could turn that down. I'm sure that Sir Alex Ferguson knew this was coming and has a replacement in hand. You have to move on now and they have moved on before; Cantona's gone, Keane's gone, Beckham's gone - and United have always gone from strength to strength. Without question Ronaldo's one of the best players in the world, last season wasn't a great season by any means, but he's still a player you want in your side week in week out. I think the fans are sick of it because I'm sick of all the speculation. Is he staying? Is he going? I don't think it's good for the dressing room and now it's done and dusted I'm very pleased because United have to move on and keep winning trophies. Paddy Crerand (Man Utd player, 1962-1971)It's very difficult. People will look at it from a monetary point of view and say it's good business but I'm not so sure what the situation is at Old Trafford. It's been bubbling over and if you speak to Manchester United supporters they've wondered if something's been wrong with him this year - but he's been a great player for Manchester United, no question abut that. Last summer the manager convinced him to stay for another year and Manchester United supporters hoped he would stay for more than that. Down the years some great players have left Manchester United and supporters have thought the world has come to an end - you've only got to look at Bryan Robson and Roy Keane - but players have always come through the ranks. Lou Macari (Man Utd player, 1973-84)What he's done for Manchester United has been fantastic, he is a fantastic player and they're certainly going to miss his goals. But he's never really clicked with the supporters and it's because of the last couple of years. I didn't want to go through another summer of listening to stories about him going to Real Madrid. I think it had come to a time to say "no more please" and let's move on. I think they'll go for (Carlos) Tevez and I think they'll go for Valencia. I was of the opinion that if Ronaldo goes then Tevez will stay and they've got the money now to keep him. That will keep a lot of the supporters happy. Clayton Blackmore (Man Utd player, 1982-94)I was one of the ones who thought he wasn't going to leave and he may leave when the manager finishes at the club, so I'm very surprised to hear it. He said he'd always wanted to play for Real Madrid and they've just bought Kaka so they've obviously got big plans. He's obviously interested in those plans, but he's playing for probably the best club team in the world at the moment. It'll be interesting to see what he does next year.
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