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Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer deadline day signing back in August has been blamed on ruining all of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's plans at Manchester United, including the use of Jadon Sancho.
Ronaldo has been one of the few bright sparks for United this season and saved them on a number of occasions, especially in Europe with late goals against Villarreal and Atalanta in the Champions League.
Back in the summer there was never much talk of the striker rejoining United, 12 years after he initially left them, until the final week of the transfer window.
Initially it looked like the five time Ballon d'Or winner would be heading to Manchester City, after they missed out on Harry Kane, before Sir Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand swooped to convince him to come back to Old Trafford.
Despite scoring nine times in 13 appearances so far, Paul Merson has claimed that re-signing the 36-year-old striker ruined all of Solskjaer's summer plans, leading to his sacking.
"I feel sorry for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer," the former Arsenal forward wrote in his column for Sky Sports.
"He had a plan at the start of the season, having finished second last season. He's chased Jadon Sancho for a long time, got him in, and he's given Edinson Cavani another year.
"Then, he gets given Ronaldo. I think he's thrown it all out of the window. From day one, they're not a better team with Ronaldo in it.
"You don't go 29 games unbeaten away without playing a certain way, and bringing Sancho in gave them another weapon to play that way.
"With Ronaldo up there, you don't have that weapon to play on the counter-attack anymore. And Bruno Fernandes was their best player last season - he's hardly had a touch this season!
"It's all snowballed for Solskjaer. He had a plan, and the Ronaldo situation threw it all out of the window, just before the season started."
Merson did argue that the signing wasn't the Norwegian's fault, however a report on Monday claimed that Real Madrid's all time top scorer was signed despite misgivings from some staff.
The report claims they told Solskjaer of their concerns over Ronaldo's lack of closing down and work rate when defending, something that was needed for the counter attack style United had previously had their relative success under the now former manager with.
Whilst Merson's point about signing Ronaldo causing the issues might still be correct, Solskjaer signing the 36-year-old despite his staff's opinions would mean less sympathy to the departed ex player.
He certainly does have a point about how the signing impacted Bruno Fernandes, with Ronaldo's fellow Portugal star failing to reach his former heights this season.
Following Saturday's humiliating defeat at Watford, Fernandes told the club's away supporters to blame him and the players and not Solskjaer.
On Match of the Day, Alan Shearer was happy to heed that advice from the former Sporting midfielder, ripping into him about his 'embarrassing' gesture.
Featured Image Credit: PA/Sky Sports
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