EXCLUSIVE | By Manchester correspondent Alex Stevens
Manchester United are preparing a staggering £400,000-a-week contract in a bid to entice Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid next summer, Football Insider sources understand.
United are willing to make the Portugese mega-star their top earner with a £20million-a-year-contract as well as pay Real a world-record fee of £120million.
The total package the Premier League big spenders are prepared to pay to re-sign Ronaldo is worth £200million over the course of the four-year contract they are ready to offer.
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Football Insider understands United have held preliminary discussions with Ronaldo’s camp to ascertain his interest in making a sensational return to Old Trafford.
The reigning World Player of the Year will have only two years remaining on his Real contract at the end of the season and there is genuine hope from the English club that he could be open to leaving the Bernabeu.
The money involved in United’s Ronaldo bid demonstrates how far the club are willing to go to given Louis Van Gaal a squad that can battle for the biggest trophies.
The Premier League club told investors last week that club revenues are expected to break the £500million-barrier this season, with their lucrative return to Champions League competition coinciding with the first year of their world-record kit sponsorship deal with Chevrolet.
United’s top earners are currently skipper Wayne Rooney and Bastian Schweinsteiger, with both on a basic salary of £250,000-a-week.
But the Premier League club are ready to go much further to bring Ronaldo back from Spain and offer a package that exceeds those offered to the likes of Thomas Muller and Sergio Ramos during the summer.
Ronaldo is regarded by the Old Trafford hierarchy as a genuine United target who can elevate the team.
He turns 31 next February but there is little evidence of any drop in his performance levels, while his vast marketing potential is such that any deal also makes sound economic sense.
Ronaldo scored eight goals in two matches last week, following up a five-goal La Liga salvo against Espanyol with a Champions League hat-trick against Dinamo Zagreb.