Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family, are tempted to hijack Cristiano Ronaldo’s protracted move to Manchester City.
Sources have told the Manchester Evening News the Glazers believe a Ronaldo homecoming would get them back onside with United supporters following the botched attempt to form a European Super League.
Juventus are holding out for a €30million fee for Ronaldo, 36, and his availability appeals to the Glazers.
Ronaldo’s representatives have been in advanced discussions with City ahead of Tuesday’s 11pm transfer deadline.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed on Friday that Ronaldo had informed him of his intention to leave the club.
“Yesterday, Cristiano told me that he no longer has any intention to play for Juventus,” Allegri said. “For this reason he will not be called up for tomorrow’s game (against Empoli).
“Ronaldo should be thanked for everything he’s done, including the example he has set to our young players. But as I said, we need to move on.”
Ronaldo left United for a then-world record £80m to join Real Madrid in 2009 after spending six years with the club, when he won three Premier League titles, the Champions League, the Club World Cup, the FA Cup, and the League Cup.
As of this morning, City were the only club interested in signing Ronaldo after they failed to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham and have held advanced discussions with Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes.
United were prepared to move for Ronaldo in 2013 but Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement scuppered any chance of a deal. The club explored the possibility of re-signing Ronaldo when Louis van Gaal was manager in 2015 but were never interested during Jose Mourinho’s tenure.
Ronaldo would represent a drastic departure from United’s recruitment reboot Solskjaer oversaw two years ago. The club has placed a preference on targets aged between 23 and 28 and manager Solskjaer is ostensibly only interested in recruiting players truly invested in playing for United.
Solskjaer has made exceptions in the transfer market by recruiting 30-something forwards Cavani and Odion Ighalo and United gazumped City to sign Alexis Sanchez in January 2018.
United have already bought Jadon Sancho for £72.9m this summer and also have Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, and Daniel James to choose from in their attack at Wolves on Sunday. Marcus Rashford is sidelined until October due to shoulder surgery.
Ronaldo currently earns £500,000-a-week at Juventus and would command a significantly higher salary than David de Gea, currently United’s biggest earner on £375,000 weekly wages. United are also currently attempting to persuade Paul Pogba to sign an improved contract.