herald

Friday 2 December 2016

Ramos 'relaxed' over United talk

United boss Van Gaal focuses on Real ace and Schweinsteiger

Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos
Bastian Schweinsteiger
Louis Van Gaal

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos insists he is "relaxed", as speculation surrounding a possible transfer to Manchester United gathers momentum.

United are keen to sign Ramos as part of David de Gea's protracted transfer to Real this summer, with the Spain defender left frustrated by Madrid president Florentino Perez's failure to offer him a new deal.

Ramos' agent and brother, Rene, denied the 29-year-old had been offered to Barcelona, following remarks by Nou Camp Nou presidential candidate Jordi Majo, and United officials reportedly met with Ramos' agent in April.

Madrid sports daily Marca doorstepped Ramos as he left his lawyer's offices in Madrid and asked the World Cup winner if he was relaxed about United's interest.

"I'm always relaxed," Ramos responded.

Ramos has a €200m (£145m) buyout clause but Real are likely to ask for significantly less for a player who has won every major honour with Los Blancos and the Spanish national side.

Although Ramos still has two years remaining on his Real deal, 11 of the past 14 renewals overseen by Perez have been finalised before this stage.

United manager Louis van Gaal will tell you his aim this summer is not just to improve his squad, but to get it to a point where it can compete for both the Champions League and Premier League.

At 63-years-old his time as a top-level manager running out. And if he's going to win trophies in England and in Europe, it needs to be sooner rather than later.

It's the reason he convinced Ed Woodward and the Glazers to splash out on established stars like Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao last summer.

And it's a transfer policy - far removed from Alex Ferguson's towards the end - that has led United to Ramos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Karim Benzema and Hugo Lloris this time.

Spanish media went as as far as to say the 29-year-old, who revealed in a 2013 interview his dad is a United fan, is keen on a move to Old Trafford after becoming unsettled in Madrid and has been taking English lessons to smooth the transition.

Yet, their hint that United are willing to pay him double what he earns at Real will do his chances of a bumper new deal no harm at all.

The situation with Schweinsteiger is different. He's still got a year left on his contract at Bayern Munich, but has reason to be unhappy after seeing Pep Guardiola prefer Xabi Alonso as the holding midfielder in the big games.

He's got history with Van Gaal, too, after the Dutchman's two seasons at the Allianz Arena between 2009 and 2011.

The United manager has made no secret of his desire to sign a right-footed defensive midfielder this summer and Schweinsteiger, even at 30 years old, fits the bill.

There is a feeling at Old Trafford that there is a genuine chance to sign Schweinsteiger, who is currently in England with his girlfriend Ana Ivanovic ahead of Wimbledon.

They may have to take more of a watching brief with Ramos, like they did with Di Maria last

summer, although they would be happy with a similar result.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News