Cristiano Ronaldo’s mooted return to the Premier League appears to be gathering pace with just a few days of the transfer window remaining
Ronaldo and Mbappe could both be on the move before the end of August
Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational switch to Manchester City seems to be gathering pace as the transfer window redoubles its efforts to make headlines with just a few days to go.
Brainnewspaper are reporting that Ronaldo will not be available to play for Juventus this weekend against Empoli and has emptied his locker at the club’s training ground, despite no official deal being agreed for him to move. He did come back to the training ground on Friday morning, but stayed for just an hour and left as the training sessions started.
His agent Jorge Mendes is said to be the driving force behind the switch that would see the Portuguese forward to return to the city where he first made his name, albeit in a blue rather than the red of Manchester United.
Ronaldo’s former team-mate Wayne Rooney though believes his loyalties will make it hard for him to head to the Etihad, home of his former club’s fiercest rivals.
“I think Cristiano has got a very good legacy at Manchester United and I know how proud he is as a player and a person,” now-Derby County manager Rooney said when quizzed about the potential move at a press conference on Thursday.
“I can’t see [him joining City], but it’s football so you never know. There have been a few that have done it but no one at Cristiano’s level. Obviously Peter Schmeichel and Andy Cole, but I just can’t see that as an option for him really.
“Financially of course he doesn’t need to do it. I think it’s more likely that it’s PSG he goes to.”
A move to Paris Saint-Germain would see him link up with recent arrival from Barcelona Lionel Messi in a mouth-watering forward line, but the club appear to have ruled themselves out of the running for Ronaldo.
PSG club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who is also chairman of the European Club Association that was previously run by Juventus chair Andrea Agnelli, was asked about a potential bid for Ronaldo at the Champions League draw on Thursday.
“Ronaldo? We do not have any talks open with him,” he insisted, moments after learning that his PSG side had landed in the same group as Man City in the Champions League group stages.
Al-Khelaifi does however still have meaningful work to do before the transfer window closes. Real Madrid have already made a bid for French superstar Kylian Mbappe, who has just one year remaining on his contract in Paris.
Madrid though are though to have fallen well short of PSG’s valuation with their initial bid of £137m, which they are now said to have improved to £145m.
It remains to be seen whether PSG’s resolve to retain Mbappe, who grew up as a Real Madrid supporter and for whom the Spanish side have supposedly already reserved the No 5 shirt worn by his idol Zinedine Zidane, will hold if a bid approaching £170m lands on their desk – but there are already reports of who they might have lined up as a replacement.
In France, national newspaper L’Equipe claim PSG are planning moves for Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland if Mbappe does go, while in England, Sky Sports claim that Everton forward Richarlison is being lined up. His agent Giuliano Bertolucci is said to have arrived in Paris late on Thursday evening for talks with PSG about the deal.
Everton manager Rafa Benitez though was forthright on any potential transfer when asked on Friday.
“We are not considering selling him,” Benitez said.
“He is our player.”