Why signing Cristiano Ronaldo would nullify Chelsea's best player
The Portuguese star has asked the Old Trafford club to respect his wishes and accept any appropriate bids that come in for him this transfer window.
The 37-year-old netted 18 Premier League goals last season, but that wasn't enough to help the Red Devils finish in the top four, meaning Man Utd will play Thursday night football in the Europa League next term.
Ronaldo has made his intentions to continue playing in the Champions League clear, and as a result his agent Jorge Mendes has begun speaking to clubs around Europe.
Bayern Munich and Napoli have been linked, although the Serie A side don't believe they have a chance of signing him, as reported by FootballTransfers, while Chelsea are another side open to the idea of signing Ronaldo.
Todd Boehly has promised Thomas Tuchel that only players he wants to sign will be brought in, meaning Ronaldo may not arrive at Stamford Bridge as the German head coach isn't convinced. However, Chelsea are known to be reportedly considering a move for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
But, if the Blues are serious about pursuing Ronaldo then they should tread very carefully as his arrival could impact the fortunes of the club's best player.
Mason Mount has won Chelsea's 'Player of the Season' award for two consecutive years and has proven himself to be their most effective and influential player during that time.
Despite constant doubts over his quality from some sections of the Chelsea fanbase, Mount has been a consistent figure under both Frank Lampard and Tuchel, and arguably remains the first name on the team-sheet.
However, if Ronaldo were to join it could hamper his production levels quite considerably.
One thing levelled at Mount during his first two seasons in the Chelsea first-team was his lack of goal involvements. Despite his quality on and off the ball, he notched up only 25 goals and assists in 73 Premier League appearances during his first two years in the Stamford Bridge senior set-up.
But, he stepped up big time during the 2022/23 campaign. With 21 goal contributions in just 32 appearances in the Premier League, Mount became Chelsea's most productive forward and was a key reason why Champions League status was established once more.
If Ronaldo joins, however, Mount may be compromised. Of course, the pair could form an impressive relationship on the pitch, but Ronaldo's most recent experiences suggests that may not happen.
That's because both Paulo Dybala and Bruno Fernandes saw their numbers drastically fall upon Ronaldo's arrival at Juventus and Man Utd.
In Dybala's case, the Argentine produced 27 goals and assists in 32 Serie A appearances in the 2017/18 campaign, which dropped to just seven goal contributions in 30 games the season Ronaldo joined.
As for Fernandes, he also suffered a decline in output upon Ronaldo's arrival back at Old Trafford. From 29 goal contributions in the league in 2020/21 to 16 in 2021/22, Fernandes felt the effect of Ronaldo's presence.
While Ronaldo's own goal-scoring numbers have remained truly excellent deep into his 30s, he does require a systematic change that perhaps nullifies the effectiveness of those closest to him on the pitch.
As the genius coach he is, Tuchel could tinker his system to fit Ronaldo and keep Mount's production levels high, but it would take a monumental effort with no guarantee of results.