Manchester United were serious enough about signing Cristiano Ronaldo last summer that the club made available the funds to pursue a transfer, although the player ultimately ended up signing a new contract with Real Madrid.
It is reported by Mark Ogden of The Telegraph that the finances were in place to mount a move for Ronaldo amid uncertainly over his future at the Santiago Bernabeu, but he took the decision to sign an improved deal worth £76 million.
Ronaldo’s decision may have been prompted after Manchester United failed to submit a formal proposal given the impact caused by the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, who maintained a particularly strong bond with the player.
The club also endured a period of frustration and confusion under his successor David Moyes and vice-chairman Ed Woodward, with the pair fumbling their way through the transfer window in pursuit of arguably more important acquisitions.
Ronaldo, it is claimed, would have considered a move back to Old Trafford had an offer been made, but Manchester United ended that summer having signed only Marouane Fellaini. It would appear the failures of the Moyes-Woodward axis ran even deeper than was thought.
Woodward has, however, been able to enhance his reputation since with notable deals for Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao, but his stock would increase exponentially were he able to now recruit Ronaldo.
There is seemingly interest from both sides once again, although it remains to be seen how seriously Manchester United would consider a proposed deal given the mind-boggling numbers that will be involved.
A potential transfer fee of £60 million has been reported, while Ronaldo will supposedly request wages of a quite enormous £500,000-per-week. All of this for a player who will turn 30 in less than five months - hardly makes financial sense, does it?
But the club are clearly on a particularly firm financial footing at the moment and a return to the Champions League for next season (far from certain, of course) will do rather nicely with a wave of investment from BT Sport set to begin.
There would, of course, also be the money to be made from replica shirt sales. This summer Real Madrid were able to shift £20 million worth of James Rodriguez shirts in 48 hours, so a return ‘home’ for Ronaldo would be pretty lucrative on that front.
This story will run and run over the next few months and how it does develop is anyone’s guess at the moment.