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27th Jul 2015

Manchester United: World football’s biggest bargaining chip?

Nooruddean Choudry

Another transfer saga seems to be ending as so many had cynically predicted – Sergio Ramos looks set to agree a new deal with Real Madrid.

Spanish newspaper and Bernabeu mouthpiece Marca report that an agreement between Ramos and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is ‘Muy Cerca’, or ‘very close’.

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Marca report that Perez and Chief Executive Jose Angel Sanchez met with the defender and his brother/agent Rene Ramos in China over the weekend.

The player expressed his need to feel properly numerated appreciated by the club, and the senior management were extremely sympathetic and understanding of his concerns.

The end result – surprise, surprise – is an imminent new deal. Manchester United fans will be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu at how the whole circus has played out. They’ve seen it all before.

Only this May, Dani Alves looked certain to leave Barca, with Old Trafford his most likely destination. Much like Ramos, it was reported that relations between the player and his current club were beyond repair.

Then hey presto! Just as the fans finally allowed themselves to believe the mounting hype, player and club official were pictured with cheesy grins to celebrate a new deal.

It’s a compliment of sorts. The name of Manchester United is glamorous and famed across the continent, and nothing gets boardroom *rseholes twitching like mention of the Old Trafford club.

Plus everyone is acutely aware that United are flush with cash. Europe’s biggest clubs look on in envy as the Reds agree multi-million pound sponsorship deals for everything from cars to noodles.

It makes them an ideal bargaining chip, to be strung along and name-checked whenever contract negotiations hit a speed bump. And to be fair, who can blame players and agents for pulling out the United card? It works.

The signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger was a big moment for Manchester United. Many assumed that too was a wild goose chase; that the Bayern Munich legend would eventually end up committing to the Bavarians.

Perhaps his signing allowed United fans to dream that Ramos was on his way too. But in the soap opera that is Real Madrid and their close-season shenanigans, it seems United were just the flirtation – a romantic subplot.