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.
Madrid-based paper AS reported on Monday that World Cup winner Ramos wants to leave ‘Real Madrid now’ with Manchester being a possible destination.
Ramos, who signed from Sevilla in 2005, has a €200m (£145m) buyout clause but Real are likely to ask for around €65m (£45m) 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.
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.