It is international week, and this means there are always going to be one or two wild rumours emerging.

One of these is the oh-so-tempting talk over Cristiano Ronaldo one day returning to Manchester United.

Even at the age of 35, Ronaldo has scored six goals in his opening four games in Serie A this season. He is relentless and shows no sign of slowing down.

Whether he is at Juventus for the long term remains to be seen.

SS Lazio v Juventus FC - Serie A
(Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

ESPN journalist Christian Martin claimed this week that initial talks between Ronaldo’s camp and United have been held.

These reports are pretty easy to dismiss. But not quite as straightforward as they would have been 12 months ago.

A year ago it looked like United were on a clear strategy of targeting young talent to build around the future.

United are still doing this. Just look at the recent additions of Diallo, Pellistri, and the nine academy recruits signed this summer.

But in the right situation, United are prepared to make exceptions. The late move for 30-year-old Odion Ighalo was no exception. A move for Edinson Cavani, 33, followed last month.

United won’t have both Cavani and Ronaldo on the books. But Cavani’s deal is only for one year, with the option of a second.

 

What if Cavani has a lukewarm year in which he scores 10-12 goals, and Ronaldo is available and up for the move?

United will be tempted to gamble on Ronaldo and see if he can make a bigger difference, moving one number seven aside for another.

Cavani a Ronaldo blueprint?

Cavani hopefully will lead United to silverware this season and earn his extra year. Perhaps even more.

But United would be sensible to keep all options open, in the case he does not.

The argument against Ronaldo was that United were focused on the development of young trio Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

Everton v Manchester United - Premier League
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Cavani’s arrival shows that United’s focus is still on winning now, and a recognition that the trio need help.

Swapping out Cavani for Ronaldo next summer, or even in two years time, would be a popular move.

At the rate he is going, Ronaldo could carry on until he is 40. Look at the way Zlatan Ibrahimovic is scoring for fun at 39.

United should keep the door open, and the Cavani move suggests the club might be willing to.

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