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Sergio Ramos: Why Man Utd's claim of betrayal is all WRONG

COMMENT: Sergio Ramos. What's he playing at? He's been on Twitter for over five years and the one story he 'favourites', the ONE story he 'favourites', is a report on Manchester United's new kit launch.

He surely knew this would only intensify the transfer speculation around his future with Real Madrid.

Was he sending a message to United? Or was it intended for Florentino Perez, the Real president?

It did appear his future had been decided. After that meeting with Florentino in Guangzhou last week, it was all sorted. But tribalfootball.com has learned the summit wasn't as conciliatory as first claimed.

During the clear the air talks - and they were tense - Florentino did admit he would have to resign if Ramos was to force a move to United. But this wasn't said in a pleading tone. Florentino made it clear to Ramos and his brother Rene, who also acts as his agent, in a matter-of-fact way. Simply, Florentino would not allow Ramos to leave because his presidency, after the fiasco of Iker Casillas' departure, would become untenable.

"You will only leave," Florentino told Ramos, "if someone pays your clause". And in his current deal, Ramos' buyout clause is set at €180 million.

Going into the meeting, Ramos still had his mind on Old Trafford. And while he was happy with how Florentino accepted his complaints over how he's felt undervalued these past 18 months, Ramos wasn't bouncing when the meeting broke up.

There was consensus over the need to address Ramos' new contract. But the brothers left the meeting with no solid date for when negotiations would resume and whether Florentino was willing to go higher than the last offer he had verbally thrown their way.

Ramos, currently on €6 million-a-year, is still demanding €10 million-a-year to re-sign. Florentino's last offer was for €7.5 million and there was no commitment on the club's behalf to better that in Guangzhou. Sources at the Ramos family's side of the table claim a compromise of €9 million would be acceptable. But there's a reluctance at Florentino's end, given the defender will turn 30 this coming season.

The frostiness between the two parties has thawed, particularly as Florentino accepted there had been errors on the club's behalf over how they've handled negotiations. But Ramos is now waiting for those words to be put into action.

In the meantime, there is an opening for United to exploit. But at Old Trafford, there's the feeling that the entire saga has been driven by Ramos. Which is wrong. The irony is, if Florentino had handled Casillas' farewell in the manner he deserved, United would now be well down the road in negotiating a deal.

But such was the backlash of the now Porto goalkeeper's emotional departure, that Florentino simply can't imagine going through such a furor again.

That United insider who accused Ramos of betrayal last week in the Daily Star did Ed Woodward no favours. The door hasn't been completely shut, but those quotes about "being used" by Ramos to gain a new Real deal were splashed across the big sports dailies of Madrid. They were the headlines, dominating the backpages for 48 hours. It was a clear ploy from Real's side to convince Ramos that any idea of reviving talks with United were over.

But the tension is still there. A new contract remains unresolved. And an opening for United, if they're willing to gamble their reputation, still exists.

And David de Gea's on-off move to Real now strikes a similar vein.

The claim that it's United who have been the stubborn party in negations is wide of the mark. It's actually Florentino who is now dragging his heels over the deal.

Jorge Mendes, De Gea's agent, has also been acting as intermediary between the two clubs. And he's fed up. Not with United and their asking price, but with the Real president and his half-hearted attempts in recent weeks to reach a solution.

Having brought in Kiko Casilla from Espanyol and with Keylor Navas still on the books, Real's technical chiefs have told Florentino they're not so desperate for De Gea ahead of the new season. If a deal cannot be struck with United - on Real's terms - then Rafa Benitez is happy to go with Casilla and Navas.

Indeed, it's suggested Benitez would prefer to wait 12 months to welcome De Gea on Bosman. Good business for the club, but also would avoid the messy situation of having to juggle three senior keepers on the books.

At Old Trafford, Mendes wants to see the deal done. A Bosman could mean a bigger contract for De Gea, but the Spaniard isn't bothered about terms. If he was, he'd have already put pen to paper on the £140,000-a-week contract that Woodward offered in June.

De Gea wants out. He has a working relationship with Louis van Gaal. But that's all. The pair didn't see eye-to-eye when the Dutchman first arrived and things have never really improved.

Florentino knows this and feels he now holds all the cards. There's no chance of losing De Gea to a rival. Just as there's next-to-no chance of the keeper signing new United terms. Real will either sign him now, at their price, or take him on a free next summer.

That's one Florentino can chalk up in his favour from this summer's campaign.


The great irony over David de Gea's on-off move is that he will eventually go to Real Madrid to replace the goalkeeper that Louis van Gaal intended to dump him for 12 months ago.

The story goes that Van Gaal arrived at Manchester United with his own ideas about who would be his No1 - and it wasn't De Gea.

Instead, Van Gaal recommended to Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, Keylor Navas, now of Real, but who last summer was available from Levante. The new United manager simply didn't rate De Gea's all round game and believed Navas would be the better long-term option.

United fans were left scratching their heads in the first-half of the season when Van Gaal would either publicly chastise his No1, or damn him with faint praise. This was no motivational ploy. The Dutchman simply wasn't won over by the Spaniard and was frustrated that United had failed to beat Real to Navas' signing during the summer.

Of course, as United's dependence on De Gea grew last season, so did Van Gaal's admiration. But in Madrid this past week, they're saying there's no way back. De Gea hasn't forgiven Van Gaal for judging him sight unseen and this is why he continues to resist United's offer to become the highest paid keeper in the game's history.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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