Friday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Neymar, Bale, Ronaldo to Man United

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The Times in the UK is leading with a monster report claiming that Manchester United are lining up three separate bids for Real Madrid’s star duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, plus Barcelona superstar Neymar.

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No, seriously, this is the report. According to the Times United want to “narrow their focus next summer by trying to sign a couple of elite players who can elevate a team who crashed out of the UEFA Champions League.” It’s difficult to know where to start with this one. Ronaldo, 30, is a hero at Old Trafford and rumors regarding his future at Real crop up on a weekly basis, with the Portuguese forward often stating he wants to retire with the Spanish giants, but then never ruling out a return to the club he loves and where he made his name.

As for Bale, 26, his situation is a little different as the world-record fee of $132 million Real paid Tottenham for him in 2013 has yet to really prove money well spent, despite the Welsh forward scoring plenty of goals and helping them win the UEFA Champions League in his first season at the club. If Bale fancied a move back to the Premier League, United would be at the top of the list of clubs who can a) afford him and b) are attractive to the player.

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When it comes to Neymar, 23, he’s a player United have been linked with over and over again and after his father came out with comments saying his son may have to leave Barcelona with tax-fraud charges looming over him, there’s some legs to that. Having said that, with Lionel Messi now 28 and Luis Suarez 28, Neymar will take on the mantle of the Nou Camp’s sole star in a few years time. If United are willing to spend big bucks on either of the three aforementioned superstars, it has to be Neymar as he’s younger and although he hasn’t had experience playing in England like Bale and Ronaldo, he’s ceiling is higher and he would be a star.

Let’s see if United can hobble along this season and win a piece of silverware, then restock in the summer and try to finally land a genuine superstar, which is something they haven’t be able to do (bar the poor handling of Angel di Maria) since Sir Alex Ferguson departed.

In other transfer news Ashley Cole could return to the Premier League with the Daily Mail reporting that the 34-year-old left back could arrive at Aston Villa with Jordan Amavi set to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Cole is currently a free agent after leaving AS Roma in the summer and would provide plenty of experience to Remi Garde’s backline as they battle relegation. But, can you really see Cole arriving at Villa Park to roll his sleeves up and scrap against the drop when he’s used to fighting for titles his entire career?