The Portuguese star has told Real Madrid bosses that he wants to leave Spain after becoming enraged by his treatment over recent tax fraud allegations.
United and French giants PSG seemed the likeliest destinations, but, according to the Daily Express, Chelsea believe they can offer something their rivals cannot: Eden Hazard.
Such is owner Roman Abramovich’s desire to bring Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge he is prepared to send Hazard in the opposite direction as a makeweight.
Real have long been admirers of the Belgian winger and have repeatedly tried to sign him in the past, and now he could be used as a pawn to snatch Ronaldo from under United’s nose.
While Hazard starred for Chelsea last season, scoring 15 league goals and providing another five assists, he did not get near Ronaldo’s level of output.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s La Liga Season
The Madrid man scored or assisted 49 goals in all competitions last season, running riot at the tail-end of the campaign to fire Madrid to a famous double and retain the Champions League.
Even if Chelsea’s bid is ultimately unsuccessful, it could foster good will between Antonio Conte and the Chelsea board.
The Italian has grown increasingly frustrated by Chelsea’s lack of transfer activity, but an attempt to sign Ronaldo would more than convince him that the Blues mean business this summer.