Paper Round: Fergie asks United to break bank for Ronaldo

Sunday always seems to be the day the biggest transfer rumours hit the back pages, and they don’t come much bigger than talk of a Ronaldo return to Manchester United.

According to the Sunday Mirror, Sir Alex Ferguson ‘will ask Manchester United to pay whatever it takes’ to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.

Ferguson may command more authority than any manager in just about any sport, but as requests go, that might be asking his board for the impossible.

Ronaldo, lest it be forgotten, was sold to Real Madrid for a world record £80m in 2009, and has already notched 150 goals in La Liga for his new club. His earnings have gone through the roof – as the article itself suggests, Ronaldo appears to be holding out for wages of around £500,000 a week – and his transfer value can hardly have diminished.

With United addled by debt, it would seem to be an almighty stretch to talk about the return of the Portuguese to Old Trafford, but if Ferguson is convinced that Ronaldo really is unhappy at the Bernabeu, rather than simply agitating for a better pay deal, he will reportedly ask United to make their move.

That’s if you read the Mirror – the Mail on Sunday has a different take altogether.

According to their man in Madrid, Real and Cristiano are preparing a joint statement which should nip all the recent uncertainty over his future in the bud.

The club will pledge to extend his contract in due course and beyond 2015, while backing him for awards – Ronaldo is believed to be upset to keep missing out on the big gongs to the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.

But there is also a warning in the story about new tax laws. Ronaldo takes home a reported £8m a year, which in Spain means Real fork out £10m annually. But if Ronaldo is to enjoy a 30% pay increase as he demands, new tax laws applicable in future contracts mean that his taking home £10.35m a year would cost more than £20m annually for Real.

If United are serious about Ronaldo, the disenchanted Nani will have even less of a future at the club, and the Mirror report he’s prepared to run down his contract at the club.

In transfer tittle-tattle, it appears Florent Malouda will be the subject of renewed interest from Lyon in the January window (Mail), while The Sun tip Dwight Tiendalli to join Swansea for the year as cover for injured full-back Neil Taylor – the 26-year-old is available to sign outside the window after being released on a free in the summer by FC Twente.

And finally, Liverpool’s transfers are set to be managed by a ‘technical committee’ as the club respond to their deadline day fiasco which saw Andy Carroll exit on loan and no replacement striker join the club (The Sunday Telegraph).