DAVID MOYES is set to begin work as Manchester United manager next week against the backdrop of further speculation about a return for former golden boy Cristiano Ronaldo.
It has been suggested for weeks now that United believe they can lure Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, which he left in 2009 for Real Madrid in a world record £80million deal.
And a report in Spanish paper El Pais yesterday claimed a meeting would be taking place between United officials and Ronaldo "in the next few days" to see if there is any likelihood of a transfer being completed.
United have not commented on the report, although it is obvious a deal would be hugely complicated given apparent interest from Paris St Germain and supposed advice given to the former world player of the year to remain at Real Madrid for the final year of his contract.
New Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti presumably would prefer to keep Ronaldo as he begins the task of shaping the club following Jose Mourinho's exit. However, Ancelotti is unlikely to have the final say if Ronaldo decides he wants to leave.
It merely adds to the air of uncertainty at United, with Moyes set to officially begin work on Monday, and his squad due to begin training later in the week.
Of chief concern will be to work out the best way forward for Wayne Rooney who, like Ronaldo, has been the subject of much, often conflicting, speculation.
PSG, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked with the England forward at times this summer, while it has also been stated Moyes would prefer to keep the player he introduced to senior football while at Everton.
If that is Moyes' wish, it is unlikely to be fulfilled without some sort of clarification on the supposed transfer request Alex Ferguson claimed Rooney had made at the end of last season.
It has now been established Rooney did not express any such desire, merely sought clarification about his status with Ferguson.
The side issue involving Rooney is that both Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck spent much of last term operating out of position, while Javier Hernandez's first-team opportunities were also restricted.
If Rooney stays, at least one of that trio is bound to wonder whether they have any long-term future at United.
United also confirmed the departure of first team coach Rene Meulensteen,who is expected to join fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink at Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
It means Moyes will be forced to look elsewhere for help to guide him through any unexpected problems during his early days at United,
The news had been widely expected following the exits of Mike Phelan and Eric Steele.