By Mukwuzi Joseph
Manchester United are leading the race to sensationally bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford after rivals Manchester City withdrew their interest in the Juventus forward.
Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes was in talks with City after the Portugal star decided to leave Juventus, but it emerged on Friday afternoon that Pep Guardiola’s side will not sign him.
The Italian club wanted a £25million transfer fee but City were pushing for a free transfer and for Ronaldo to take a pay cut on his £500,000-a-week wages.
According the Manchester Evening News, United offered Ronaldo a contract on Friday morning following a late intervention from former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who spoke to Ronaldo about the plans regarding his future.
The publication adds that United are lining up a two-year deal for Ronaldo and are planning for him to have a medical in Lisbon.
United then publicly signalled their interest in the Old Trafford legend when Solskjaer, at his Friday press conference, made it clear that he would welcome the 36-year-old five-time Ballon d’Or winner back.
‘Ronaldo is a legend of the club, and the greatest player of all time, if you ask me,’ said the United boss. ‘I didn’t think he’d leave Juventus. We’ve always had a good communication and I know Bruno (Fernandes) has been talking to him.
‘He knows what we feel about him. If he was ever going to move away from Juventus, he knows we’re here.
‘When you are Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba or Bruno, you have to read a lot about yourself. Let’s see what happens with Cristiano, because he is a legend of this club.
‘I don’t want to speculate too much on Cristiano. We focus on the ones we have here. I’ve said many times, when you’re Man United or (Lionel) Messi, Ronaldo you read a lot about yourself.
‘I was fortunate to play with him and coach him. Everyone who has played with him has a soft spot for him.’
Asked if he wanted another new player after signing Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane this summer, Solskjaer added: ‘Any manager is always looking for a little bit more.
‘I have to say the transfer business we’ve done this summer, I’m happy with the numbers, quality and personalities we’ve brought in. They fit each other really well. You’re never comfortable as a manager, but the chemistry is there and I’m very happy with what we’ve done.’