The rumor mill is swirling over a prospective Cristiano Ronaldo return to his former club, Manchester United. Such a move is reportedly being discussed on Friday, and if the superstar scorer returns to Old Trafford, the Red Devils will be even more of a powerhouse than they already are.
Neil Custis of The Sun broke news of a meeting between United brass and Nike in London on Friday. The company is considering funding Ronaldo's hypothetical second stint with the current English Premier League leaders.
Custis notes that it would likely cost at least €75 million and another player to get the deal done.
The logic behind Nike's involvement makes a lot of sense. The Red Devils wear the trademark "swoosh" on their jerseys, but Ronaldo—who is sponsored by Nike in terms of shoes and sportswear—rocks an Adidas logo every time he takes the pitch for Real Madrid.
It would be difficult for Real to part with such a dominant player, whom it paid €94 million for four years ago. Ronaldo spent six prosperous seasons with United, notching 84 goals in 196 caps. In La Liga, though, he has been arguably more incredible, as he continues to thrive in the prime of his career.
There is still plenty of football ahead for the 28-year-old, and if the price and deal are right for Real Madrid, it is easily feasible that Ronaldo could return to his former club.
That would definitely give legs to the assertion manager Sir Alex Ferguson has made about Wayne Rooney, whom he insists will be with the Red Devils next season. A reunion between Rooney and Ronaldo would help fortify the former's future, as Custis notes.
Combining those two with Robin van Persie on the attack would make the Red Devils absolutely unstoppable. United already leads the EPL in goals by a staggering margin, finding the net 68 times in just 28 league fixtures.
If anything, Ferguson may struggle to figure out how to get all of those players involved. However, there is innate chemistry between Rooney and Ronaldo, and there's no reason to think players of that caliber can't make it work.
The move would benefit Rooney immensely not only for his security with United, but it would also allow him to get out of his current, unconventionally defensive role.
Ed Maylon of The Mirror states that Ronaldo has rejected a contract extension with his current squad. His lucrative contract, signed back in 2009, has two years left on it.
What also gives substance to this rumor is recent comments by Ronaldo's former United teammate, Gary Neville. Rik Sharma of The Daily Mail logged what Neville had to say about the whispers of Ronaldo's return:
There is no secret to the fact that [Ronaldo] misses the security, the stability and the friendships that he had in Manchester and the reception he got the other night was special for him.
Forget Manchester United, I think, from a British football point of view, having Ronaldo back in the Premier League would be a great result for everybody because to watch him week in, week out, would be a pleasure.
The reception that Sharma refers to came during a recent clash between Real and United in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford, where the crowd warmly supported its former star.
Ronaldo wound up scoring the game-wining goal, and he felt almost apologetic in a sense afterwards, partially due to a red card that turned the match completely around, but also for beating his former mates.
The above remarks—along with Ronaldo's admission that he was overwhelmed by the atmosphere— seem to confirm Neville's assertion that Ronaldo still feels the deep ties to United and would desire to return.
If he does, the Red Devils will be nearly impossible to stop on the attack with that kind of firepower, and speculation of a dynasty in the EPL would be legitimate.