Manchester United have been locked in negotiations with Real Madrid for the past 12 days to try and bring about a sensational return to Old Trafford for Cristiano Ronaldo. That, at least, is the claim put forward by the Daily Star, which also believes that the Premier League champions are increasingly confident that an £80 million deal can be reached.

It is the latest story in months of speculation about the future of the Portuguese star, who left United for Madrid in a record deal in 2009. United have long been thought to have held out hope, rather than expectation, that Ronaldo could be brought back to the club where he established himself as one of the world’s best players and inspired his side to the Champions League title in 2008.

But, according to the Daily Star, new manager David Moyes is set to have stepped up the interest after discovering that Madrid were intent on signing Tottenham’s Gareth Bale this summer. And it is said that Madrid have been willing to negotiate after Ronaldo informed them that he was keen on returning to Manchester.

What is known is that Madrid have been put in a quandary by Ronaldo entering the final two years of his contract and showing no signs of committing to a new deal. The 28-year-old is likely to be relaxed about the situation, knowing that as his deal runs down the more leverage he will have over his next move. The Spanish giants, meanwhile, realize that, if they don’t believe Ronaldo will commit to a new deal, his value will continue to decrease before eventually being able to leave on a free.

Still, it remains a phenomenally expensive and complicated deal to pull off for United and still appears a distant possibility at this stage. A transfer that appears even less likely to transpire has been proposed by Manchester United goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel. Talking to Swedish publication Expressen, the Dane suggested that Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be an ideal signing for his former side.  

“You've got to ask Zlatan why he hasn't played in England yet, but I'd love to see him at Manchester United,” he said. “I don't know who he supports, but he's a born Manchester United player, he would be absolutely brilliant. 

“I think our supporters would love him, if he ever made that move, he wouldn't move again. 

“For Zlatan to play the way we love him to play, he has to be Zlatan. I think he's so suited to the Premier League and he has loads of time left in his career, I hope we see him there.”

There has been some talk that Ibrahimovic could be on his way out of Paris Saint-Germain following the signing of Edinson Cavani. But, while he has the talent to flourish in a United shirt, the fact that the former Barcelona striker is now aged 31 and on a reported €14 million (£12.2m) a year means that there is little possibility of the enigmatic Swede winding up at Old Trafford.

Speculation with a bit more substance to it came in recent days when the agent of Bologna midfielder Saphir Taider claimed that Manchester United had been in touch about a move. Moyes is known to be determined to add at least one and quite possibly two midfielders to his squad this summer. However, Bologna coach Stefano Pioli is adamant that Taider will not be one of them.  

“For me Taider is not for sale, he is a player that I consider integral to my plans and a change now would not be a good thing” he told Corriere di Bologna.

Follow Jason Le Miere on Twitter