Jorge Mendes is still working tirelessly to try and secure a new club for wantaway Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo and feels a swap deal with Napoli may present the best opportunity for all parties, according to reports.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner told United’s hierarchy earlier this summer that he wanted to leave the club, with Ronaldo keen to secure a move to a side playing in the Champions League.
However, he has found offers hard to come by, with Mendes reaching out to the likes of Chelsea and Bayern Munich but receiving little interest in return.
The only official approach United have received came from a club in Saudi Arabia, who were prepared to pay a big transfer fee and make Ronaldo the highest-paid player in the world by an enormous margin, but he rejected the proposal and does not want to leave Europe yet.
Mendes has continued to look for clubs who might be able to take on the 37-year-old’s massive salary, and Napoli have emerged as a potential option in recent days.
While the Italian side cannot afford to bring in Ronaldo right away, they would happily take him as a replacement for star striker Victor Osimhen should the Nigerian leave the club.
According to Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio, Mendes has therefore been working as an intermediary proposing that United sign Osimhen, paving the way for Ronaldo to move to Naples in an elaborate swap of sorts.
Napoli have been made aware of Mendes’ intentions but are now waiting for the Portuguese super-agent to return with a ‘concrete offer’ from United for Osimhen.
While United are keen to sign an established, out-and-out striker before the window closes, it remains to be seen if they can stump up the cash for a player who would demand a fee of around £85million.
Osimhen certainly feels more akin in style and goalscoring ability to Darwin Nunez, who United had identified as their top forward target at the start of the summer only to be gazumped by Liverpool.
But United have already spent an enormous amount this summer and are working on another £85m deal for Ajax winger Antony, with the Brazilian set to fly to Manchester for a medical imminently.
Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti opened the door to a potential departure for Osimhen following their goalless draw against Fiorentina on Sunday.
‘The club thinks of any situation that is of interest to our players,’ he told DAZN. ‘I say that if a club offers you €100m (£85m), it is not easy to say no. Since I arrived here, all the players have been on the market for the right price.’
With the transfer window shutting on Thursday night, Napoli, United and Mendes would have to move incredibly quickly to pull off such an audacious and complicated series of deals.