A report in the Daily Star claims Manchester City are ready to break the bank to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to the Etihad Stadium.
It claims the Blues have informed the Real Madrid man’s advisers they are prepared to improve on any offer from cross-city rivals Manchester United if there is any indication he might become available this summer.
It is understood United have spent some time trying to put together a package for the Portuguese international to make an emotional return to Old Trafford, but the report maintains that City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano have told Ronaldo’s representatives they are serious in their interest.
Ronaldo still has two years of his existing agreement left at the Santiago Bernabeu and, despite claiming a new deal is close to being discussed, Los Blancos are yet to come up with any formal offer.
This has increased speculation the 28-year-old may be open to a move away from the Spanish capital, although the only club believed to have tabled a concrete bid so far are Paris Saint-Germain, whose €60m offer was rejected out of hand.
However, City chairman Sheikh Mansour is understood to have made it clear he will do what it takes to keep Ronaldo out of United’s clutches as new boss Manuel Pellegrini seeks to wrest the Premier League title back from their eternal rivals.