The saga of David de Gea’s proposed transfer to Real Madrid has taken another turn, with strong reports claiming that Manchester United have requested Sergio Ramos in return for the Spain goalkeeper. The two clubs have been in negotiations for some time, with United making it as difficult as they can to get De Gea, despite the fact that the 24-year-old just a year left on his contract and is by all accounts eager for a return to the Spanish capital. United are thought to have made their interest known in several Madrid players in exchange, but the request for Ramos, as reported by The Guardian, appears the most serious yet.

Ramos is one of the key figures at Real Madrid, having been there for a decade and occupying the role of vice-captain, but his future has been called into question by the fact he now has just two years remaining on his contract. And there appear to be growing rifts between the 29-year-old and the club, which United are looking to exploit.

Indeed, Madrid-based publication AS reported that Ramos has decided that he will leave the Bernabeu this summer. Ramos is believed to be angered about not being offered a contract package that he feels reflects his status at the Bernabeu. And in recent days, his views of the club are said to have become further soured by Real Madrid’s failure to deny a story that he was being lined up by one of the candidates to become Barcelona president.

As things stand there has been no indication that Madrid are willing to listen to offers for Ramos that fail to meet his €200 million buyout clause, but the club will be reluctant to allow the season to begin with such a prized asset entering the final two years of his deal.  

Change is in the air at the Bernabeu following the arrival of Rafa Benitez as manager, and, it would appear that Ramos is not the only leading player unhappy with events behind the scenes in recent times. Also being reported by AS is that Cristiano Ronaldo, who publicly supported former manager Carlo Ancelotti, remains less than happy. Ronaldo’s ire is said to have been increased by the reported decision to play him as a central striker being relayed to him through the media rather than through the club.

Ronaldo has been repeatedly linked with a transfer away from the club in recent weeks, with Paris Saint-Germain thought to be prepared to pay €125 million. The Ballon d’Or winner for the past two years has also been suggested as a target for former club Manchester United, although with three years remaining on his contract, it is difficult to envisage Real Madrid being ready to sell this summer.

So far, with the De Gea deal still in limbo, Real Madrid remain temporarily quiet in the summer transfer window. Yet, it is thought that president Florentino Perez is looking to continue his trend of signing a “Galactico” each year. The two names at the top of his shopping list have been widely reported to be Manchester City striker Sergio Agüero and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. Madrid publication Marca, though, claims that the club are relaxed about their interest in the pair. Agüero looks to be extremely difficult to prize away from Manchester City, while Pogba will cost a huge fee and is also prominently on the radar of Barcelona and Manchester City.