Chelsea have decided not to pursue a move for Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo this summer despite the 37-year-old's willingness to depart Old Trafford, according to reports.
Ronaldo has yet to rejoin his teammates for pre-season, despite being due back 10 days ago, and was omitted from United's travelling squad to Bangkok and Australia.
Erik ten Hag was quick to deny that a departure was in the works, stressing that his key asset is not for sale this summer.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale, he is in our plans”, he told the media. “He’s not with us due to personal issues. We are planning with Cristiano Ronaldo for this season, that’s it”.
The Dutchman then added that he is “looking forward to work with him”, allaying potential fears that the 37-year-old may not be in Manchester come transfer deadline day.
However, there remained an overarching feeling that Ronaldo, unhappy with United's transfer business, was keen on a move. Chelsea were named as one potential destination, with new Blues owner Todd Boehly having met Jorge Mendes to discuss a potential move.
But, according to The Athletic, "Chelsea have decided not to make any attempt to sign Cristiano Ronaldo this summer as a replacement for Romelu Lukaku", with Thomas Tuchel not thought to be keen on the player having already signed Raheem Sterling.
Where will Ronaldo go?
The options continue to diminish for Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, should he wish to go through with a departure from Old Trafford but remain in one of the top-5 European Leagues.
Barcelona are not in a position to offer him a place at the Camp Nou, while Real Madrid are also seemingly happy to avoid a return for the veteran.
In Germany, Bayern Munich have already revealed that they will not be signing the forward, despite links suggesting that Robert Lewandowski could be Barcelona bound, leaving a vacancy in the no.9 role in Bavaria.
Meanwhile, ESPN reported that Paris Saint-Germain also turned down the opportunity to add the Portuguese to their already star-studded front line, due to concerns about how it may affect those already at the club.
Italy looks bleak, too, with Juventus not keen on a reunion 12 months on from his departure and Roma and Napoli, both also linked, yet to make a move for the star.
That leaves England, and once more destinations look few and far between. Manchester City and Liverpool have already added new forwards this summer, while Tottenham have also signed Richarlison.
Arsenal cannot offer anything that Manchester United don't have, while those below are unlikely to appeal to Ronaldo.
It could prove that staying in Manchester becomes the star's only option this summer.