Frustrated Gravesen issues Real ultimatum

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Thomas Gravesen's agent believes the Danish international is likely to remain at Real Madrid despite the player's appeal to leave the Bernabeu over his lack of first-team opportunities.

The former Everton midfielder alerted several Premiership clubs to his potential availability by issuing an ultimatum to Madrid to either play him or sell him. "My clear ambition is to play every game, so naturally I'm not satisfied. For me this can't go on, so my agent and I will have to take a look at the situation while the transfer window is still open," he said.

Manchester United, Newcastle, Everton and Middlesbrough have all been linked with the 29-year-old, who enjoyed a successful start to his Spanish career, following a £2.5m transfer from Goodison Park last January. However, the combative midfielder has made only five starts in La Liga this season. United would be the Dane's preferred choice but, having enquired about a short-term deal for the player before Christmas, Old Trafford officials have since confirmed there will be no more acquisitions this month.

Gravesen's agent and former United defender, John Sivebaek, has attempted to meet with Real officials over a possible transfer. Last night, however, he conceded: "If Real Madrid don't want to sell, we will have to accept that. At the moment he is a Real Madrid player and it looks as though he will be at the end of January."

Jonathan Woodgate, Gravesen's Madrid colleague, has been struck down, yet again, with injury.

The centre-back had just returned from a torn hamstring to play two matches in a week, including 90 minutes against Villarreal, but since the game he has been troubled by a muscle strain in his left leg. He is now expected to miss tomorrow's Spanish Cup second leg against Athletic Bilbao.