Man Utd: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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Manchester United have been linked with Sergio Ramos and the Real Madrid captain confirmed he is to leave the Spanish club this summer. Old Trafford chiefs may see a deal for Ramos as a great way to add quality to the back-line without spending big money, freeing up funds for additional signings.
The 35-year-old Ramos held a press conference on Thursday after it was announced that his 16-season stay at Real Madrid is coming to an end.
The centre-back won five La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues during his time at the Bernabeu, and says it is difficult to leave.
He said: “I would have liked to have said goodbye at the Bernabeu. You are never really prepared for this day, it’s the most difficult of my career.
“I’ll come back here one day, I’m sure. I want to say a huge thanks to Real Madrid, I will always carry you in my heart.”
But Ramos isn’t ready to retire, and could see a move to the Premier League as a great opportunity for one final contract to see out his career.
United have been linked with a move for Ramos’ Real Madrid team-mate Raphael Varane.
The France international is reportedly keen on a move away from the La Liga club after growing dissatisfied during a disappointing recent season that saw Real miss out on the league title.
But any move for Varane would cost in excess of £60million and possibly up to £80m, even with the 28-year-old heading into the final year of his contract.
And bringing in Ramos would be a short-term solution for the Old Trafford board, adding another starting centre-half without spending a lunge chunk of the summer’s transfer kitty.
If United were to bring in Ramos it would free up funds to get a deal for Jadon Sancho over the line.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who will leave his role at Old Trafford at the end of 2021, has been “playing poker” during negotiations with Borussia Dortmund for the England man.
Dortmund want a greater guaranteed sum than United are prepared to offer currently but Woodward will be more likely to meet the German club’s demands if he has already brought in a centre-back on the cheap.
That would be two big boxes ticked, but signing Ramos rather than Varane for a big fee would also spare funds for more signings.
The Old Trafford transfer brains trust also want Kieran Trippier this summer as they look to add strength in depth at right-back.
United had been baulking at Atletico Madrid’s £43m asking price for the England full-back, but would be willing to meet the Spanish club closer to their demands if more funds were available.
And maybe even a huge bid for Erling Haaland could also be in the offing later this summer if Chelsea continue to accelerate their interest.
The Norwegian is one of the most sought-after talents in Europe, and United are one of those most keen. But the English club are unwilling to spend big on Sancho and a centre-back as well as Haaland.
Extra cash could see Woodward submit a speculative offer for the Dortmund 20-year-old, who revealed this week that he is only interested in playing for a Champions League club.
“I have been thinking about the Champions League my whole life, wanting to play there,” Haaland said.
“It gives me one percent extra motivation when I go out on the pitch with the anthem.
“That’s my big dream: to win the Champions League one day. Hopefully I can lift that trophy and that really would be, well, amazing.”
Whether United could do multiple big-money deals remains to be seen, but a low-cost addition of Ramos – though his wages would be sizeable – might allow them to at least dream of three or four major additions.
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