THE INSIDER: Ronaldo's Real deal is worth £80m but who will Manchester United splash the cash on?

11 June 2009 02:14
Simon Jones is Sportsmail's man on the inside of all the biggest (and littlest) transfer moves this summer and they don't come any bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80m. The Red Devils have accepted the world record fee - but who could be lined up to replace the World Player of the Year. His column, published every weekday, offers an insight into the deals which will be done and those that won't - and why. A 5/5-rating means The Insider reckons it's a done deal; 0/5 means The Insider has his mortgage on it not happening. Don't miss yo Don't miss your daily instalment of The Insider every weekday through the transfer window here at MailOnline.e. Franck Ribery Bayern Munich - The Insider says: 2/5 The France international has declared he wouldn't want to move to England because of the climate, but United have been long-time admirers and considered signing him before he joined Bayern in 2007. Zinedine Zidane has held lengthy discussions with his compatriot to tempt him to Real Madrid and Barcelona also believe they can convince him to move to the Nou Camp. United, however, now have the financial power and good relationship with Bayern Munich to capitalise on the interest they showed earlier this year. Sources at the club have revealed inquiries were made once they became aware that Real Madrid would follow up their interest in Ronaldo. Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has admitted the club received an inquiry from United about Ribery, who would be the ideal replacement for Ronaldo. Karim Benzema Lyon - The Insider says: 4/5 Sir Alex Ferguson has monitored the France international striker for the past four years and would have signed him two years ago but for Lyon's inflated valuation of the raw youngster. Ferguson was prepared to spend £15m but Lyon think the player is now worth �40m. Benzema's talent is undoubted, but he has yet to fulfil his true potential and the size of the fee still represents a gamble for Ferguson. Antonio Valencia Wigan - The Insider says: 5/5 The deal for Wigan star Valencia has been in place since Christmas. As Sportsmail revealed, United's worry is the down turn in the player's performances this calendar year, but Valencia is highly rated and is still young at 23 years old. United hope that he can grow into a world class performer, but they don't want to pay an inflated price and hope to land him for around £15m. Carlos Tevez unattached - The Insider says: 3/5 The balance was firmly leaning towards Manchester City in the battle to sign Tevez and could still be too far down the line to be rescued. Ronaldo's departure, however, will mean Tevez gets the regular action he craves - and that might just be enough to tip the scales back in United's favour. The one problem for Ferguson is that United's fans probably won't see the Argentine as a new signing and will still want the manager to bring in new faces to appease demand. A decision from Tevez is expected in the next 48 hours. Stewart Downing Middlesbrough - The Insider says: 2/5 Ferguson has long been an admirer of Boro's England international, but doesn't feel he has maintained a steady scale of improvement over the past two seasons. That may be because Downing needs to make a move up and United could be willing to consider him as a cheap option. A broken foot means Downing will be struggling to make the start of the season, while Tottenham and Liverpool are also monitoring his progress. United would undoubtedly have the upper hand in any negotiations, but may decide he is not quite the right calibre at this stage in his career. Eljero Elia FC Twente - The Insider says: 1/5 The 22-year-old has been recommended by his FC Twente boss Steve McClaren after helping his side clinch second place in the league and reach the Dutch Cup final. Arsenal went in for him in January, while Tottenham and Fulham have also had scouts watching Elia.

Source: Daily_Mail

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