Real Madrid agreed a civil contract with Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea that includes a €15 million compensation package if they fail to sign him this summer, reports El Pais.
The Spanish newspaper ran a story in Wednesday's edition that claimed Real Madrid were warming to the idea of swapping Sergio Ramos for De Gea.
Club president Florentino Perez had previously rejected the idea out of hand, but his failure to land De Gea has seen anxiety at the Bernabeu reach critical levels.
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Not only have Real Madrid already sold their No1 goalkeeper Iker Casillas, but a contractual agreement with De Gea, drawn up when Los Blancos were supremely confident of convincing Manchester United to sell, could see them fork out a huge amount in compensation.
The contract seemingly binded De Gea to signing for Real Madrid this summer but offered him reassurances that the deal would go through this summer.
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In exchange for his commitment, Real Madrid agreed to pay the goalkeeper €10m if they had not signed him before 20 August and a further €5m if the transfer still had not gone through by 1 September.
Shooting themselves in the foot
Agreeing this contract as well as selling Iker Casillas to Porto has served to destroy what was once an extremely strong negotiating position for Real Madrid.
De Gea had his heart set on a move to the Bernabeu and had refused to extend his Manchester United contract beyond 2016. Los Blancos looked certain to sign one of the best goalkeepers in the world for a fraction of his market value.
But allowing Casillas to leave and gambling as much as €15m on them agreeing a deal this summer has driven up the price.
It now looks like a growing number of Real Madrid officials want to see Ramos offered in exchange for De Gea, solving two problems in one.
Manchester United have so far refused to negotiate the sale of De Gea without Ramos' inclusion while the centre-back has also declared his desire to leave for Old Trafford.
Agreeing a swap deal now looks the most likely solution in what would certainly be seen as a tremendous victory for Manchester United's transfer guru Ed Woodward.
Would a Ramos/De Gea swap represent a great deal for Manchester United?