Sergio Ramos transfer to Manchester United: Real Madrid backlash against £46.5m defender boosts hopes of Old Trafford switch

There is no current sense that Real Madrid want to keep the defender

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos has been hit by an angry backlash to the state of open warfare he has provoked with the club, which could enhance Manchester United’s attempts to sign him.

A source close to the top of the Spanish club on Monday indicated to The Independent that the defender’s professed willingness to move to United seemed like a bluff designed to secure the player the £140,000-a-week contract he wants. United are certainly extremely wary of not being played by the 29-year-old, who they want as part of an exchange deal for David de Gea.

But Ramos risks pushing himself to a point of no return with Real, in the latest of what has been a series of choreographed rows with the club in recent years. The La Racon paper, a source of output positive towards Real president Florentino Perez, published a front page image of Ramos on its sports pull-out on Monday with the words ‘Respetar la Insignia' (‘Respect the Badge’), and a strongly worded editorial declaring that he is failing to do so. The front page of AS declared ‘Ramos wants to leave now.’

There is always a prospect that conflagrations such as this will end up with a new improved deal being offered – as was the case with Barcelona’s Dani Alves recently. But there is currently no sense from the Spanish club that they want to keep the player. From Perez’s perspective, Atletico Madrid’s Nicolas Otamendi could be a good replacement for Ramos at half the price. Ramos finds himself in a state of open dispute from which there may be no going back.

Possible evidence that Real may be willing to sell came last Friday, when one of Barcelona's presidential candidates Jordi Majo said that he had been offered the chance to sign Ramos. Most Madrid supporters assumed that Ramos' brother and agent, Rene Ramos, had been doing the offering and there was some criticism in the Spanish media at Ramos trying to drum up interest in such a way. But Majo’s subsequent indication that he had not spoken to the agent but to another intermediate suggested that the club was more likely to have been doing the offering.

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Valencia's Nicolas Otamendi is seen as a potential Ramos replacement at Real Madrid

As of Monday, United had received no formal bid for De Gea, though there has been contact during which a low offer in the region of £12m is thought to have been mentioned. Ramos has a €200million (£143m) buyout clause, though that is immaterial to Real’s actual valuation of him, which is thought to be around €65m (£46.5m) – or equivalent value.

Ramos’ belief that he should be entering the last two years of a contract is based on his vast wealth of Champions League experience, and the last minute goal which took the 2014 Champions League final into extra time and allowed Madrid to win their tenth European Cup. But Perez has a history of being willing to part company with charismatic captains, including Raul and Fernando Hierro, who begin to eclipse him in popularity. It is highly unusual for Perez, who has appointed Rafael Benitez to replace Carlo Ancelotti as manager, to allow a player to run his contract down into the last two years.

As United continue to push for Ramos, Robin van Persie is understood to believe that his career and settled family life in England are worth fighting for at the club, despite Louis van Gaal having indicated to him that he to be able to demonstrate greater intensity in training to make the starting XI on a regular basis.

Van Gaal has the same concerns about Van Persie that he did with an ageing Mark van Bommel when managing Bayern Munich. He fears that the striker can no longer cope with the intensity he demands in training sessions, in the same way that Radamel Falcao did not when he arrived last season.

Van Gaal always sets huge store in players being able to deliver maximum work-out in his intensive training sessions. He told Van Bommel that he should move to Italy where he could chose his moments of impact because the pace of the game was slower and the average age of players higher. But with few clubs likely to be able to match Van Persie’s wages in any case, the Dutchman seems to want to stay and fight.

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