Manchester United to offload eight ahead of £131m Cristiano Ronaldo Bid: Jose Mourinho goes all in with move for former Old Trafford star

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Manchester United’s plans to lure Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford are being put in place, and they are willing to let as many as eight first team players leave the club to fund a deal.

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Ronaldo, 32, has shocked the football world this week by announcing his decision to leave Real Madrid over the club’s handling of the player’s probe from the Spanish tax authorities. Los Blancos did release a statement backing their talisman, but it seems as though he will be leaving them just weeks after scoring a brace in a 4-1 win over Juventus to give the club their twelfth European Cup triumph.

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It remains to be seen how much the Portugal star will cost to sign, given he recently signed a contract to keep him in Spain until he is 36, but his former club are keen to explore all their options in order to re-sign him, eight years after he left in a then world record £80million deal after six years in the Premier League.

Jose Mourinho has previously worked with his fellow countryman at the Santiago Bernabeu, where he was managwr between 2010 and 2013, but it is Ronaldo’s relationship with the fans and former boss Sir Alex Ferguson which could help broker the deal.

Chasing Ronaldo will also afford United the opportunity to clear the decks this summer. Chris Smalling, Mateo Darmian, Phil Jones, Marouane Fellaini, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Luke Shaw could all be sold to raise funds, while goalkeeper David De Gea, a long-term target for Real, could be used as an option to sweeten the deal.

The Red Devils also have a substantial part of the wage bill available having released last season’s top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 35-year-old has not been offered a new contract despite scoring 28 goals in all competitions because of doubts over his ability to fully recover from a serious knee injury.

Mourinho has been publically critical of Smalling, Jones and Shaw this season and is ready to sell them off. Tottenham, Newcastle and West Ham are just three of the clubs keen to sign the trio, while captain Rooney, now 31 and struggling to recapture his best form, has been heavily linked with a return to boyhood club Everton. Lyon want to reunite Martial with Memphis Depay, having had the Frenchman as a youth player before he joined Monaco, and Juan Mata is said to be interesting Sevilla. Mateo Darmian could be heading back to Italy, with Milan, Lazio and Inter all keen on his services.

As betting tips go, Ronaldo heading back to United is looking pretty good right now.

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