HE’S COMING HOME
It delights us that Duncan Castles is able to bring everyone news of Cristiano Ronaldo’s future for The Times. Castles is as good a mouthpiece for Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo’s agent, as he is a lickspittle for Jose Mourinho, after all.
According to Castles, Manchester United ‘want to return Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford this summer’, which is a strange way of saying they want to sign their former player.
United are ‘exploring the viability’ of signing 32-year-old Ronaldo, who fits their bill for ‘an elite striker’. Paris Saint-Germain also want him, the result of which is that the world-record fee is almost certain to be broken if the Portuguese does indeed move.
‘In addition to informing Madrid that he intends to leave, Ronaldo has instructed Gestifute to find him a new club,’ writes MendesCastles, who adds that ‘it is understood that Mourinho would take Ronaldo ahead of any other forward on the market’.
Ronaldo reportedly told Sir Alex Ferguson six weeks ago that he misses the ‘camaraderie’ of Old Trafford. Sure.
HE’S COMING HOME WITH A FRIEND
Of course, United signing Ronaldo would likely complicate matters regarding Alvaro Morata. Not only would the Spaniard likely be a little aggrieved at leaving one club for first-team football, only to find himself behind the exact same player, but negotiations between both clubs could be awkward.
Tuttosport offer a solution for that second point, as only an Italian newspaper reporting on an English club signing a Spanish player from a Spanish club can. They claim that United will offer Real £183m plus David de Gea in part-exchange to sign both Ronaldo and Morata.
That, of course, does not solve the problem whereby one of those players, surely Morata, would be second choice, but hey, it sounds fun!
It also means that one of the world’s best goalkeepers would be used as a pawn in a transfer deal, leaving United with no first-choice keeper, and two very, very expensive players in terms of wages, as well as their initial £183m outlay.
In terms of Ronaldo, his release clause is £870m. The Daily Mail claim Real would want £350m. The Daily Telegraph say a fee of £131m would suffice. No-one has a clue.
AND THE REST
Chelsea have emerged as surprise contenders for Ronaldo, with owner Roman Abramovich ready to pay a world-record fee for the 32-year-old…Real president Florentino Perez has told Portugal forward Ronaldo that he will not stand in his way if he wants to leave the Spanish champions…Ronaldo will only stay at Madrid if the club agrees to pay his disputed £13m tax bill…Manchester City are closing in on the signing of Juventus’ 34-year-old Brazil right-back Dani Alves…City boss Pep Guardiola also wants to sign Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker, 27…Bayern Munich hope to beat City to the signing of the England defender and will offer Walker £150,000 a week…Liverpool are close to sealing a £35m deal with Roma for their 25-year-old Egypt and former Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah…Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is an option to replace Antonio Conte as manager at Chelsea, but the Premier League champions do not want the Italian to leave…Chelsea are confident Conte will sign a new contract at Stamford Bridge before the start of next season.