Man Utd ‘open talks’ for Cristiano Ronaldo return in potential Paul Pogba swap
Cristiano Ronaldo could be in line to finally return to Manchester United this summer, and Paul Pogba could have a pivotal role to play in a swap deal that would send him back to Juventus.
Both players have been linked with potential returns to their former clubs in the past, but this year’s round of rumours appear to be gathering pace at a faster rate.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported Pogba may link back up with Massimiliano Allegri, who was reappointed Juventus manager shortly following Andrea Pirlo’s dismissal on Friday.
Italian journalist Nicolo Schira wrote United have “already opened talks” to re-sign Ronaldo, who left Old Trafford for Real Madrid in 2009:
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner made 292 appearances during his six-year stay at United, where he won three Premier League titles and the first of his five Champions League medals.
Ronaldo, 36, has one year remaining on his contract at the Old Lady, and it’s understood Allegri would be open to the idea of selling the top scorer in Serie A this season (29 goals).
Paris Saint-Germain are alleged to be interested in taking the Portugal captain to Ligue 1, however, presenting the Red Devils will some potential competition in the market.
Ronaldo is said to be PSG’s preferred option if they cannot keep hold of Kylian Mbappe, who continues to be linked with moves to Real Madrid and Liverpool.
Pogba, 28, won the league and Coppa Italia double during each of his two seasons under Allegri, who hopes to restore Juve’s dominant streak following a fourth-place Serie A finish this season.
The Bianconeri previously won the scudetto in five straight seasons during Allegri’s first stint as coach, as well as finishing runners-up in the Champions League on two occasions.
Salary could be an important factor in deciding where the players begin the 2021/22 season, with Ronaldo reportedly facing a substantial pay cut if he wants to represent United a second time.
The veteran is understood to earn a little less than £500,000 a week in Turin, but his pay at Old Trafford would be ‘drastically lower’ if he did move back.
Pogba—who first left United in 2012 but returned four years later—has flirted with the Old Trafford exit in recent years. The World Cup winner said in 2019 that “it could be a good time to have a new challenge,” though such comments have subsided since results improved under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Frenchman’s agent, Mino Raiola, has also fanned the flames of speculation and teased a possible move back to Juventus in December: “Maybe Juventus could be Pogba's next club… why not?
“The relationship between Paul, Juventus and former teammates is excellent.
“But with the Covid impact, many clubs can’t sign him.
“For sure, it's time to leave Manchester United.”
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Juventus secured a fourth-place league finish on the final day of the Serie A campaign. However, their place in next season’s Champions League is still far from assured, with the club facing disciplinary action following their refusal to back down from European Super League plans.
European football’s governing body, UEFA, could punish Juve—along with co-conspirators Barcelona and Real Madrid—by banning them from continental competition next term.
Such a decision would likely only help United in convincing Ronaldo to come back to Old Trafford, though it could also make Pogba reluctant to return to Turin right now.
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