Portugal November 23, 2022: Ronaldo’s salary accounted for 10.5 per cent of United’s wage bill, with the club now saving £17 million after ripping up his contractCristiano Ronaldo’s exit will see Manchester United’s wage bill slashed by more than 10 per cent and potentially free up money for Erik ten Hag to spend in the January transfer window.
Ronaldo will not receive a penny in compensation following his dramatic departure after the two parties agreed to rip up his contract, which has saved the club about £17 million in the process.
With the Portugal striker having left, United’s wage bill will also ease significantly and may boost Ten Hag’s prospects of adding a replacement striker or another player in the winter window.
United announced wages had reached a record £384.2m for last season - the equivalent of 66 per cent of turnover - in large part as a result of the signing of Ronaldo from Juventus 16 months ago on an initial contract worth around £775,000 a week, or £40.3m per year.
It meant Ronaldo’s salary - which made him the highest paid player in Premier League history - accounted for 10.5 per cent of United’s wage bill, a huge drain on finances that became even more keenly felt this term with the 37-year-old often out of the team.
United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League last season saw players’ salaries drop by 25 per cent, including that of Ronaldo, which meant a fall in his wages to about £580,000 a week but the player was still accounting for around 10 per cent of the total bill.
Cliff Baty, United’s chief financial officer, had revealed in the weeks after Ronaldo’s return to the club that his signing and the arrival of Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho that same summer would increase the wage bill by about 20 per cent all told.
As reported previously by Telegraph Sport, United hold an interest in the 19-year-old Slovenia striker Benjamin Sesko, who was signed by RB Leipzig in August from RB Salzburg before being loaned back to the Austrian club for this season.
Ten Hag would also like to bring in another right back if United manage to offload Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who is surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
Yet it remains to be seen whether the announcement that the Glazers are considering a sale of the club has an impact on Ten Hag’s hopes of strengthening the squad in January.
With Ronaldo, United had been confident they had strong legal grounds to sue for breach of contract given the unauthorised and damaging nature of his interview with Morgan together with his refusal to come on as a substitute against Tottenham last month.
United were keen for a swift and clean resolution and to avoid a protracted legal battle and ultimately got their wishes following talks between lawyers for both parties and Richard Arnold, the Old Trafford chief executive, and Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes as the player walked away for nothing.