Details of how Manchester United made their move to include Sergio Ramos as part of a deal with Real Madrid for David de Gea have been revealed by the Guardian.
News emerged over the weekend that the Red Devils had made their interest in Ramos known after the defender reportedly told the Spanish club that he wants to leave having not been offered a new deal at the Bernabeu.
That could have huge implications for De Gea's potential move to Real Madrid. The Spanish goalkeeper has rejected the chance to pen a long-term contract with the Red Devils worth £200,000-per-week and is said to be seeking a return home.
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Madrid have already had one offer of £18 million turned down by Manchester United, who are holding out for a much larger fee or, as it has emerged, a player in return.
The Guardian's Sid Lowe reports that representatives from Spain travelled to England after the first bid was rejected having requested that the Premier League club set a price. The report adds that Madrid presumed that the meeting would be a formality and that the deal would be done - only for Manchester United to tell their rivals that their demands included Ramos.
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That throws a number of variables into the mix. Ramos has a release clause of around €180 million while he is demanding a €10m-per-year-contract. Privately Madrid are said to value Ramos at €65 million which represents a major issue - however there is hope a deal can be done.
Ramos has two years left on his contract and so far negotiations have gone nowhere, giving Manchester United hope they can make a move for the 29-year-old.
The major problem for Manchester United in any swap deal is that they lack any degree of leverage. De Gea is out of contract next year so could walk away for nothing and he has rejected a contract that hints at the fact a return to Spain is on the cards.
Manchester United are likely to play hardball with Real Madrid given the amount of time remaining in the summer window and the saga is set to run for some time.
Swap deals are incredibly rare in the modern game and it's highly unlikely this one will happen too - the numbers just don't add up.
Ramos is nowhere near worth as much as De Gea but the end of his contract has driven the goalkeeper's value down - and there is no way that Manchester United will agree to pay Madrid money plus give them De Gea to get Ramos.
Madrid may relent and let Ramos go if De Gea joins but there's no need for them to give up a valuable asset when all the pressure is on the Red Devils.