Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Sergio Ramos will not be leaving the club for Manchester United this summer.
As reported by the Manchester Evening News, Benitez, who replaced Carlo Ancelotti as Real's manager at the end of last season, has insisted that the Spanish international will be crucial for the club in the 2015/16 campaign.
Ramos, of course, has been the subject of interest from United over the last few weeks, with the Red Devils seemingly hoping to bring him to Manchester before the close of the window.
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In fact, the same report claims that the Red Devils will only sell goalkeeper David de Gea to Madrid if Ramos heads in the opposite direction.
The Old Trafford outfit have already had a bid in the region of £28m rejected for the defender, with the Manchester Evening News claiming that Real president Florentino Perez will demand an incredible £65m for the player's services.
Benitez speaks out
Benitez, though, is seemingly adamant that Ramos will stay on at the Bernabeu for the foreseeable future.
The Real Madrid manager told reporters: “Sergio Ramos is our player and he is a key player for us. I would like to see him at the beginning of the season playing for us. I think he will be crucial for us during the season.
“I am 100 percent. I insist it’s clear for me and for the club that Sergio will be here. I have a lot of respect for Louis van Gaal and football is a curious world, but Sergio Ramos will stay with us.”
LVG has a big decision to make
If Ramos really is unavailable, then Louis van Gaal has a big decision to make as he goes about improving the club's back-line ahead of the new campaign. Ultimately, with Matteo Darmian having arrived, the Red Devils now look well covered in the right-back position, while they have numerous options at left-back, too.
At the heart of the club's defence, Van Gaal has a number of options, but his centre-backs really have to start proving themselves at Old Trafford.
The likes of Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have all struggled on the injury scene over the last few years, so are in need of finding consistency. The latter certainly started to do just that towards the end of the last campaign, but he must not rest on his laurels.
There's also the versatile Marcos Rojo, who enjoyed a steady opening to his United career, but he will no doubt be hoping to kick on in his second campaign under the Dutch regime. If Van Gaal fails to sign a defender in this transfer window, then it will be a risk, but in signing defensive midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger, the club's back-line will enjoy far greater protection.
Manchester United fans: Do you want another defender to arrive at your club this summer? Have your say below!