Everything is connected, even the European football transfer market. Manchester United are interested in Cristiano Ronaldo, but they know Real Madrid aren’t too eager to sell him. But if Real Madrid manage to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham? Do they become a bit easier to talk with about the Portuguese star all of a sudden?

A few stumbling blocks on the road to reuniting Ronaldo and the Red Devils, and there are quite a few. Firstly, Ronaldo himself. While he wasn’t the happiest of players during the season and he’s still not signed on a new deal that takes him beyond 2015 at the Santiago Bernabeu, the departure of Jose Mourinho and the retirement of Alex Ferguson serve as a double whammy for those pushing out of the club: He might not want to leave Real Madrid at all now that Mourinho is gone, while Ferguson, probably the main reason for his potential return to Old Trafford, is no longer a factor.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale

There’s also the money issue. Can United actually spend more than £80 million for Ronaldo? And even if they can, will anyone let Moyes make that kind of expenditure on one player? That seems like the complete opposite of what he and the club he is now the manager of are all about, which puts the Ronaldo comeback seriously in doubt.

The third factor is PSG, who are also interested in Gareth Bale, and usually have a way of speeding up process compared to other big clubs, not usually too worried about haggling and trying to reduce prices. Last season, when Lucas Moura was on the verge of joining Manchester United for €30 million, PSG stepped in at the last moment and offered €45, getting their hands on the talented Brazilian. While £85 million for Bale does sound ridiculous, never be surprised by what the Parisians are willing to spend.

And what’s the point of bringing in Bale and not keeping Ronaldo? Florentino Perez isn’t trying to win an election by promising a replacement to Ronaldo. He’s promising someone to join forces with him, hoping that it shifts Real Madrid from the one-player mode they’ve sunken into these past few years, with all of the relative success it has brought them. Manchester United might be dreaming of bringing him back, and deep down, might be that Ronaldo himself is actually thinking the same thing, but after surveying the field, it doesn’t look like something that can happen under the current conditions.