Man Utd enforcing 'Cristiano Ronaldo rule' could make life difficult for Dan Ashworth

Man Utd have sought to cut down on massive salaries since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure (Image: Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo’s turbulent second stint at Manchester United reportedly sparked changes at Old Trafford, including the introduction of a rule on player salaries which could restrict the hopes and ambitions of sporting director target Dan Ashworth.

United and Newcastle are still believed to be in talks over a deal for Ashworth, who has made clear his desire to join the Red Devils. New co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has already set about his behind-the-scenes reshuffle, with Omar Berrada appointed CEO and Jason Wilcox eyed up for a technical director role.

Despite complications around Newcastle demanding a hefty compensation package, United are reportedly ‘confident’ of bringing Ashworth on board. Sir Jim will naturally be keen to welcome the 53-year-old as soon as possible, giving him a chance to bed in before the summer transfer window.

Another disappointing season under Erik ten Hag is set to trigger a wave of squad changes, with recruits expected to be sought at centre-back, full-back, striker and central midfield.

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Everton star Jarrad Branthwaite is among Man Utd’s summer transfer targets (Image: Getty)

The likes of Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite, Juventus defender Gleison Bremer and Bologna forward Joshua Zirkzee have all been linked with Old Trafford ahead of Sir Jim’s first window at the helm.

It remains to be seen whether United’s ‘Cristiano Ronaldo rule’ impacts their pursuit of big-money targets. According to The Daily Mail, the club have put a stop to players earning significantly more than £200,000 a week in an effort to maintain harmony in the dressing room.

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Ronaldo, during his second spell in the Premier League, pocketed more than double that. With lessons learned, senior United stars such as Casemiro, Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane are all believed to be in a similar wage bracket to each other.

Ashworth will be keen to make a big impression if his move to United goes through as planned, but the enforcement of the Ronaldo rule would prevent him from using Sir Jim and the Glazers’ vast wealth to go after Europe’s top-tier stars.

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Manchester City, for example, reportedly have six players earning more than £200,000 a week. Sir Jim has already made it clear that he wants United to go after the next Kylian Mbappe or Jude Bellingham, rather than the players themselves.

The Red Devils could shed two massive earners from their wage bill this summer. Anthony Martial – one of the best-paid players at the club – will leave when his contract expires in June, while Casemiro has been linked to the Saudi Pro League.