Manchester United have accepted that they will lose last season's top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, as the star continues to keep his distance rather than return for pre-season training.
Ronaldo is yet to check in for pre-season, meaning Manchester United have been left in the dark as to whether he will be joining their tour of Asia and Australia, handing new boss Erik ten Hag an unwanted early headache during his time in charge at Old Trafford.
Without Champions League football, Ronaldo has been left further agitated by the lack of transfer activity at the Theatre of Dreams, with Tyrell Malacia the only addition so far this summer and seven players having departed the first-team squad.
Now, the hierarchy seems to have recognised that keeping the global icon at the club when he clearly wishes to depart is futile, and have accepted his decision to do so.
As per The Sun, 'United were initially bullish about their star striker still being with them for next season' But, they continue, 'Red Devils bigwigs have now recognised they cannot keep him against his will and want to avoid a long, drawn-out battle.'
The likes of Chelsea, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Napoli, Roma and Sporting CP have all been mentioned as potential destinations for Ronaldo this summer, but for one reason or another several seem unrealistic.
Where will Ronaldo head?
At the moment, Chelsea appear to be the frontrunner, with Todd Boehly keen to make a statement signing after taking over the club.
Bayern Munich have ruled themselves out of the race, while Barcelona seem more focused on luring Robert Lewandowski to the Camp Nou.
Meanwhile, Roma do not have Champions League football to offer, and there are questions as to whether a return to Serie A would be something Ronaldo would be keen on.
One thing seems increasingly likely, however. He won't be at Old Trafford this coming season.