MANCHESTER, June 22 – Manchester United are close to signing Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in a dramatic twist to the David de Gea saga.
Ramos is upset that Madrid have allowed his contract to run down into its final two years and has told advisers he wants out of the club with Old Trafford his preferred destination.
If United can make the deal happen their goalkeeper De Gea will effectively swap places with his Spain team-mate Ramos, in the biggest piece of business between the two clubs since Real signed Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
Ramos, who signed from Sevilla in 2005, has a €200m (Sh22.5bn) buyout clause but Real are likely to ask for around €65m (Sh7.4bn) for a player who has won everything in the game for both club and country.
The 29-year-old was unhappy with the sacking of former coach Carlo Ancelotti and has become further disillusioned by Real’s failure to give him the €10m-a-year contract renewal he feels he deserves.
Ramos believed he would be offered a new deal last summer after his last minute goal took the Champions League final into extra time and allowed Madrid to win their tenth European Cup.
But his current deal, which runs out in 2017, is worth €6m (Sh674.2m)-a-season net, and has not been touched.
The central defender has watched as president Florentino Perez has renewed other players and even boosted Gareth Bale’s salary by €1m a season from €9m to €10m a year.
While other defenders in Ramos’ position earn over €10m net (Thiago Silva, €12m, David Luiz €11m) Ramos lags behind the likes of John Terry and Gerard Pique in the pay stakes.
Barcelona presidential candidate Jord Majo claimed on Friday to have been offered the chance to sign Ramos and the player is also unhappy that there was no ‘hands-off’ message from Real Madrid.
The defender could still be a target for Barcelona but prefers the Premier League and favours a move to Old Trafford.
Manchester United have been keen to take a Madrid player this summer as their big European rivals sign their goalkeeper De Gea.
Both Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo have been targets but such are the defensive shortcomings of the squad, Louis van Gaal is likely to welcome Ramos’ arrival even more.
Real Madrid could still keep Ramos by giving him the €10m salary he wants but many believe president Perez has already revealed his hand by allowing the player to run his contract down to the last two years.