The Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga has taken another twist this morning as a couple of new reports change the scenario significantly.
The two stories range from the bad to the very bad, if you're a United fan wanting to see Ronaldo retun. First, let's deal with the bad: Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent goes with the story that AS Monaco will make an £85m bid for Ronaldo if his contract negotiations with Real Madrid continue to stall.
This is an exclusive in the Independent, and it's new, if not entirely unsurprising information. Monaco's status as a tax haven means they can afford to make Ronaldo comfortably the best-paid player in the world, and the £85m figure is a worry as it's hard to see United matching it, even if the player himself would prefer to pitch up at Old Trafford.
The link made is, of course, our old friend Jorge Mendes, whose clients Monaco have been snapping up left, right and centre this window. Among the bad news, there are other things to consider: the article also states as fact that United have been interested in luring Ronaldo back, and the Mendes connection is significant. Most Ronaldo-to-United stories have cited sources based at Old Trafford. This story doesn't, but the Mendes link gives it more of a whiff of contract-wrangling than the United stories have.
It's not hard to see Monaco making this move, but it is hard to see Ronaldo pitching up there anytime soon. Trying to work out what's going on from the outside is becoming an increasingly difficult task as the situation gets ever more complex. It appears to be either a very ambitious move from Monaco, or a story leaked to frighten someone into paying up, but at the moment, any speculation would be guesswork.
The worse news is that the Sun also run a story today claiming that Real Madrid have 'closed the door' on United making a move for Ronaldo. The quotes in the piece aren't hugely important - much-repeated ones from Florentino Perez insisting that the player will stay, as though he would possibly say anything else. Nonetheless, it's a pretty big change of heart from a newspaper that was running with United signing him a couple of days ago.
Unfortunately, it looks like this one is going to run and run, and if United really are serious about it and in with a chance, that's bad news, because this move, if it had a chance of taking place, would define our window. The last thing we want is to be kept waiting all summer on a pipedream of a move, so hopefully someone will resolve this one as soon as possible one way or the other.