According to several Spanish media outlets, Louis van Gaal has been given the green light to make audacious bids for two former Manchester United stars – current Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, and Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué, as relayed by Sky Sports.
Ronaldo, 29, has frequently flirted with the idea of returning Old Trafford, the place he left five years ago in a world-record £80 million fee after he developed into arguably the world’s best player.
Whereas Piqué, 27, has recently found himself relegated to more of a bit-part player under Barcelona’s new manager, Luis Enrique. If he continues to see his game time decreased, then the 2010 World Cup winner could seek a return to the England giants.
Astonishing spending power
The Manchester club’s board and executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, have publically warned Europe’s elite clubs about their sheer spending power and their plan to buy their way back to domestic and European glory on several occasions.
Woodward also recently admitted that if Vn Gaal desires to bring in yet more talent, then the board would be willing to back the 63-year-old Dutchman in January.
He said: ''We will continue to monitor in association with Louis his view of the squad and which areas we want to strengthen and which areas we want to sell.
''I wouldn't have expectations for January but if there is a willingness from the manager, we will engage with him and if there is an opportunity, we will try and take that as we did last January.’’
Having been named as the fourth richest club in the world in the 2014 Deloitte report, and spending over £150 million on new players this summer, meeting Ronaldo’s reported £280,000 a week, as well as Piqué’s salary, should not be too much of a problem.
After Angel Di Maria’s record-breaking £59.7 million move to United, Ronaldo aired his disappointment at allowing the sale of a man he thought was integral to the team, as well as that of Xabi Alonso.
Ronaldo indicated both his frustration at Perez, and his power within the club, when he said: ''I have strong opinions but I can’t always say what I think. Otherwise it would be on the front page and I don’t want that.
"But if it was up to me, I wouldn’t have done so."
This has served to only fuel rumours of an imminent return to Old Trafford, especially since Ronaldo has previously said how he would consider moving back to England in the future.
Although the Portuguese icon may command a larger sum than what the Manchester club sold him for in 2009, a January move is still possible as Perez may seek to recoup his £80 million fee.
Every end has a new beginning
As for Pique, the Spanish centre back was hampered by injury during the early part of the campaign, and has been out-of-favour so far under Enrique’s tutelage – with the new coach preferring the partnership of Javier Mascherano and Jérémy Mathieu.
Consequently, it might be best for both parties if his Barcelona career is to come to an end. If Enrique continues to deprive the 6ft 4 defender of regular game time, then he might want to return to United.
It is believed that Piqué is at the top of van Gaal’s transfer shortlist, and the Barcelona player would be the world-class defender that the team needs to help plug their leaky and inexperienced back-line.