Chelsea are allegedly at the head of the queue to sign Manchester United attacker Cristiano Ronaldo in a blockbuster deal this summer.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is believed to have informed the Red Devils of his desire to leave the club in the coming weeks amid doubts over the club’s ability to challenge for major honours.
Ronaldo reportedly wants to win one more Champions League before he hangs up his boots, and the 37-year-old does not believe that Erik ten Hag’s side can fulfil his silverware ambitions.
Man United are holding firm on their stance that Ronaldo is not for sale under any circumstances, but the Portugal international could try to force an exit before the start of the new season.
Ronaldo supposedly wants the 20-time English champions to sanction his sale for an ‘acceptable’ bid, and according to The Sun, Chelsea are leading the race.
Chelsea ‘leading race to sign Cristiano Ronaldo’
New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is said to have floated the idea of Ronaldo making a sensational move to Stamford Bridge during a recent meeting with the striker’s agent Jorge Mendes.
The Blues will be able to offer Ronaldo Champions League football next season, while he would be forced to settle for the Europa League if he remained at Old Trafford.
As a result, Chelsea are supposedly determined to make the former Real Madrid man their standout summer signing, and sources at Man United are allegedly not denying that he wants to leave.
Ronaldo’s contract at Old Trafford is due to expire in 2023, but Man United possess the option of an additional 12 months, and the attacker impressed last season with 24 goals and three assists in 38 appearances in all tournaments.
Eighteen of Ronaldo’s 24 strikes came in the Premier League, and he has now amassed 142 goals and 71 assists in 329 appearances during his two spells in Manchester.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has allowed wantaway striker Romelu Lukaku to head back to Inter Milan on loan for the next 12 months, and exits are also being mooted for Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.
Bolstering the Blues’ attack and defence is therefore a priority for the German coach, who is hopeful of welcoming Raheem Sterling to the club from Manchester City this month.
Bayern Munich are also thought to be in the race to sign Ronaldo, with the Bundesliga champions running the risk of losing Robert Lewandowski on a free transfer next summer.
The Poland international has frequently voiced his desire to leave the Allianz Arena this summer, but Bayern chiefs continue to insist that he will see out the final year of his contract.
A return to Sporting Lisbon has also been mooted for Ronaldo, who spent six years at the Portuguese club before joining Man United for the first time in the summer of 2003.
However, Ruben Amorim’s side are unable to afford the attacker’s £480,000-a-week wages, meaning only a handful of clubs can battle for his signature in the coming weeks.