Talk is ramping up regarding a Manchester United move for Cristiano Ronaldo next summer, as Louis van Gaal continues to model his side.
United's interest is reported by multiple outlets, with the Real Madrid star described as open to the idea of a return to Old Trafford.
There remain key questions over (a) how the club can afford it, bearing in mind plans to strengthen in other positions, and (b) where he would fit into the team, and who he would push out of it.
The reliable Daily Telegraph report that United have several options on the table, which involve potentially moving on current stars of the side, with their decisions resting on performances this season.
"With uncertainty over the future of Juan Mata, and Robin van Persie having less than two years to run on his contract, the departure of either would unlock substantial funds to cover Ronaldo’s salary.
Similarly, United may walk away from an agreement to buy Radamel Falcao, who earns £265,000 a week at Old Trafford, if the Colombian fails to justify a permanent transfer during his season-long loan from Monaco."
United have an option to buy Falcao for £50 million from Monaco, but will have to assess his season long performances, age, fitness, and wages against that price tag, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo's.
Louis van Gaal has been choosing between Robin van Persie and Juan Mata of late, and over the course of the season may decide there is only one he wishes to keep.
United can afford to buy Ronaldo without losing one of their stars, but bearing in mind financial fair play, and the practicality of keeping numerous top stars happy, they have to make sure such a mega-move makes sense, especially with such a thin defence in terms of quality and squad depth.