Gary Neville says the arrival of Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao has made it “more possible” for Manchester United to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Ballon D’Or winner, who won three Premier League titles and the Champions League during his first spell at Old Trafford, has been linked with a return after reports emerged that he is unhappy at Real Madrid.
It is thought Ronaldo was frustrated by the sale of Angel di Maria to Manchester United this summer and Neville believes that record signing, along with the Deadline Day swoop for Colombia forward Falcao, has seen the club re-emerge as major players in the transfer market.
The Sky Sports pundit played alongside Ronaldo for six years and says a return would have been unthinkable a few months ago, but could now be possible.
We sat here three or four months ago deliberating over whether Manchester United could attract world-class talent. They’ve absolutely smashed that question out of the water.
“It’s been rumoured for a year or so,” said Neville on Monday Night Football.
“There was talk last summer that it was either going to be Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale and there are rumours of Cristiano not being happy in Madrid.
“Obviously last year they won the Champions League, so has he achieved what he wanted to achieve in Madrid? Has he done what he set out to do? That’s question one.
“Does he love Manchester? Does he love United? Yes, absolutely. He has talked more and more in the last 12 to 18 months about how he misses Old Trafford.
“The reception he got there and the way the fans reacted towards him, I’ve not seen that for many players. Eric Cantona and him were incredible reactions from the fans every single week. It was almost like an incredible belief in the stadium every time he played.
“You’d have to say that with what they’ve done with Di Maria and Falcao it’s more possible, it has to be, because they’ve shown the real intent to go and sign world-class players.
“We sat here three or four months ago deliberating over whether Manchester United could attract world-class talent. They’ve absolutely smashed that question out of the water and if they get him…
“They need a centre-back by the way. Can he play centre-back?”
Neville was impressed by Manchester United’s 4-0 win over QPR on Sunday and he enjoyed the injection of pace that Di Maria provided.
He believes the new signings will see the club re-emerge as title contenders in future seasons, but he feels defensive frailty will prevent them from mounting a challenge this term.
“I don’t think they can, I really don’t,” Neville responded when asked if they could win the Premier League.
“I think Chelsea and City this year are the two strongest teams and defensively, when they come up against the big sides, there will be a problem in dealing with them.
“I’m not sure if they’ve got enough, but what they are is closer to the title than they were three weeks ago in respect of maybe next season or the season after you can now see some light at the end of the tunnel with the players that they’ve signed.”