Friday 21 October 2016

United's pursuit of Ramos is over as he signs new Real deal

Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos

Manchester United's pursuit of Sergio Ramos is over after the defender agreed a new Real Madrid contract extension.

Ramos, 29, is set to sign a new deal until 2020, which will include a substantial annual wage hike from €6m to €9m.

The Real and Spain centre-back was unhappy not to be offered a new contract earlier this year and told Real he wanted to join United, who offered to swap David de Gea for Ramos.

Real refused to negotiate a swap deal and valued Ramos at £64m - a figure United never came close to meeting.

Following Iker Casillas' unsavoury departure, Real president Florentino Perez was jeered by supporters at the former Blancos goalkeeper's farewell event in July, strengthening Ramos' bargaining position.

And, similarly to Barcelona full-back Dani Alves, Ramos has successfully used United as a bargaining chip to earn a better deal. He is also expected to be appointed Real's full-time captain once his contract is formally announced.

Now United must decide whether or not to sign another centre half. The club has indicated they would not enter the market for a defender and likened rumours of interest in Nicolas Otamendi to the endless spurious speculation surrounding Benfica forward Nicolas Gaitan.

Louis van Gaal has a multitude of centre-backs to choose from in Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Jonny Evans, Daley Blind, Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair.

However, Evans could leave United before the transfer deadline in 20 days' time and, with the exception of the vastly-improved Smalling, the alternatives experienced mixed campaigns last term.

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