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Do Manchester United really need this summer transfer?

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo

Somewhere in the negotiations to secure Carlo Ancelotti as Real Madrid’s latest manager, President Florentino Perez would have used the good nature between his club and PSG to try and create a barrier between the French club and Cristiano Ronaldo.

PSG have been one of the leaders in the hunt for Ronaldo’s signature, along with former club Manchester United. The Paris club can afford Ronaldo and, they need Ronaldo as their building to superpower status continues.

For United it’s slightly different. New manager David Moyes needs to set a marker for the start of his tenure with the club. It’s been said that the new financial deals for the club could help fund the move for the Portuguese, while conflicting statements suggest that the player could run down his contract with Real Madrid and move on free, securing himself a substantial signing-on bonus.

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It’s not really a matter of whether United need a player like Cristiano Ronaldo – who would say no to either him or Lionel Messi on the basis that they’re well-stocked or unable to accommodate them? It’s lunacy. Any club would be infinitely better with the Portuguese in their side. The real matter is that of the financial side of things, whether United can indeed afford to shell out on the player.

Such is Ronaldo’s contract situation at Madrid that it seems unlikely that Florentino Perez would be in a position to demand £80 million or above – at least beyond this summer. United were said to be in for Radamel Falcao – of which we don’t know how much is true – meaning they’d have had to pay somewhere in the region of £60million for the now Monaco forward; possible indicators as to how much flexibility the club would be willing to offer Moyes.

But from a purely football perspective, United have dropped off from their ability to match the very best in the Champions League. The signing of Robin van Persie did a lot to wrestle back the Premier League title from Manchester City, yet the squad as a whole could do nothing to force a place alongside the class of Bayern Munich, Dortmund or even PSG in Europe. There is also a case to be made that had the rest of the Premier League’s top clubs not been so inconsistent last season, United would certainly not have walked the title in the way they did. Something about parallels to Spain and Germany.

A move for Thiago is well within the boundaries of reasonable outlay, and the youngster will help to turn the club’s fortunes around on the European stage. Are United simply looking to make use of the convenience of the player’s buy-out clause? Not unless you believe the stories which say United were in for Thiago two summers ago. The club would even be a good fit for Gareth Bale, provided, in the unlikely event, Daniel Levy opts to enter negotiations with the United instead of Real Madrid.

But neither do quite as much as what Ronaldo would. It would send shock waves around Europe, much in the same way as Mario Goetze’s transfer from Dortmund to Bayern. Not necessarily as an implication that the German youngster is an equal to Ronaldo, but purely because of shock value.

There’s no doubt that Bayern are now the dominant power of European football. They possess the strongest squad, to such an extent that they’re barely flinching at the idea of losing a goal machine like Mario Gomez. They now have one of the best managers in the game today taking over from their treble-winning coach in Jupp Heynckes, all the while able to lure the majority of the world’s best to the Allianz Arena.

Wouldn’t it just be in the script if Ronaldo helped United to topple Bayern’s empire, if only for a short time, in the way he did for Real Madrid two seasons ago? The bedding-in period took some time, but eventually it become very much an even duel between Ronaldo and Messi in the Clasicos, sometimes with the Madrid forward bettering the Argentine.

For now, however, United are likely to look where there is a clear path to what they want, and that points towards Thiago. Ronaldo’s future isn’t any clearer now than it was when he announced his “unhappiness” at the start of last season. Stories emerging indicate that Florentino Perez has unearthed new confidence in his bid to keep the Portuguese at the Bernabeu, while follow-up stories point to an exit.

United do need the player back at Old Trafford. Now that Alex Ferguson has moved on, there’s no way the club can try to mask the idea that they have fallen some way since their Champions League final appearance in 2011. It’s not that other players combining at the club couldn’t take United back to that level, but Ronaldo’s arrival would accelerate that leap forward considerably.

Do Manchester United need Ronaldo back at the club?

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Article title: Do Manchester United really need this summer transfer?

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