Louis van Gaal has been handed a huge boost in his alleged pursuit of Sergio Ramos after the Real Madrid defender informed senior officials at the Santiago Bernabeu of his desire to join Manchester United this summer.
That's according to the Daily Mirror, who reported late on Monday evening that the Spain international has his heart set on a move to Old Trafford following face-to-face talks with Los Blancos chief executive Jose Angel Sanchez.
Rumours of Ramos' unrest in the Spanish capital began to circulate last week off the back of claims the 29-year-old had rejected the offer of a new contract with Rafa Benitez's side. He still has two years to run on his current deal, but it's becoming increasingly unlikely that the player will pen a renewal.
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Many questioned the motivation behind the centre-back's public display of dissatisfaction, with some football pundits intimating that Ramos was simply angling for a bumper pay-rise to bring him closer to Real Madrid's top earners like Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, his entourage have rebuffed those suggestions by reiterating that the stopper genuinely wants to bring the curtain down on his ten-year association with the European giants as he seeks a new challenge for the final few years of his career.
The opportunity to join Manchester United - who are now back in the Champions League after securing a fourth-place finish last term - is something that appeals to Ramos, not least because they can afford to pay him the salary he feels he deserves.
Van Gaal is looking to strengthen his back line and sees the Spaniard as a perfect acquisition who will add invaluable experience to his young squad at the Theatre of Dreams.
However, the Red Devils still need to reach agreement with Real over an acceptable fee having had their opening £28.37 million offer turned down. Senior chiefs think that's a realistic valuation for a player approaching his 30th birthday, but Madrid are holding out for more money.
Of course, the two clubs are also locked in negotiations regarding the future of goalkeeper David de Gea, with the 24-year-old keen to return to La Liga ahead of the 2015/16 campaign, but talks are proving more difficult than initially anticipated.
Manchester United fans: Do you think Sergio Ramos would be a good signing this summer? How much should Louis van Gaal pay to get the Real Madrid star to Old Trafford? Have your say below...
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