Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos is quickly approaching a major crossroads in the home stretch of his career, with the 34-year-old four-time Champions League winner more closely linked with an exit than at any time in nearly 16 years since his arrival. Los Blancos of Seville.
If Ramos chooses to leave Real at the end of the season, the clubs are sure to climb on top of each other to try and sign one of the best and most decorated defenders of his generation.
Manchester United are once again strongly linked with Ramos, winner of the World Cup in 2010 and back-to-back European champion with Spain. But could they really sign it?
Ramos has less than six months on his contract with Real which means he is on track to become a free agent at the end of this season and could have his pick of any offer on the table. Indeed, he is already authorized to negotiate an agreement prior to the contract if he wishes.
Ramos has so far been unable to come to an agreement with Los Blancos on a new contract, with wages and the length of any deal both appearing to be sticking points. A report in Spain even claimed last week that he turned down the current offer at the Bernabeu.
90 mins has learned that Madrid officials still believe Ramos will stay. After briefing him on the club’s plans, they would be stunned if he decided to quit for a payday, while Thiago Silva joining Chelsea at 36 is proof that he still has the option to move further forward.
Publicly, Ramos himself only said, “We’ll see”, when he was told about his future at an airport a few days after Christmas. Behind closed doors, it is believed he wants to stay, but only if the offer is fair.
Ramos has been closely linked with Manchester United before, notably in the summer of 2015.
At this point, he had two years left on his contract and had recently turned 29. United were even believed to have submitted an offer worth £ 28.6million because Ramos’ side line appeared to be that he told Real he wanted to leave.
United wouldn’t have made an offer if they didn’t believe Ramos really wanted to leave Madrid and was really available.
A week after the offer, Ramos told Spanish TV he was not in talks with any club about a potential transfer. About five weeks later, he then signed a new long-term contract with Real and insisted he never wanted to leave.
United, it seemed, had been used by the player’s side to help their negotiations with Real by presenting a transfer to Manchester as a tangible threat if the Spanish giants didn’t spit.
Despite being burned down in 2015, Manchester United have been linked with Ramos again, although Old Trafford officials have this time been very cautious.
A center-back is a key priority for United this year. But young players, which include players like Pau Torres, Jules Kounde, Ben White and Caglar Soyuncu, make up the bulk of their shortlist.
Ideally they would like a left-handed player, but someone of Ramos’ quality, experience and winning record would be hard to ignore. should it be available.
90 mins recently reported that United and a number of Premier League rivals have all expressed interest in signing Ramos if he were to be away, and were in contact with the player’s side at least as early as November.
But no one is ready to be drawn into anything unless there is genuine mutual interest. This is going to be a key feature of this saga as no club wants to be publicly embarrassed and they are not known to be particularly keen on moving to the Premier League.
Athletic have also announced that there is “no chance” of Ramos joining United or Liverpool this summer. Instead, he is expected to sign a new contract with Real. However, these two things don’t necessarily have to be linked as there is potentially yet another club on the table.
Paris Saint-Germain position themselves as another option for Ramos if he is leaving Spain as they seek to build a squad capable of finally winning the Champions League and have also been heavily linked with Lionel Messi.
Currently diametrically opposed as club captains on either side of the Clasico rivalry, Ramos would otherwise not have the chance to play alongside Messi and there is still the possibility that this will be a key in the works as far as Real’s plans to keep him.
If that happens, Messi could ultimately prove to be an asset to PSG in pursuit of Ramos, meaning the French champions could still pose a final threat to Real.
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