Morning.

Big news this morning is that Sergio Ramos has told Madrid he wants out, and that United is the only place he is considering hanging his hat. This has now become something far more significant than the standard ‘wrangling for a new contract’ technique employed by Dani Alves et al. Ramos, despite apparently meeting with Fiorentino Perez, has met him only to reiterate in the strongest possible terms he wants to leave and has specifically said not for Manchester City, according to Sky. Which is nice.

The game is now set. Ramos has a €180 million buy out clause, but considering we hold David de Gea and are now able to play a little more hardball than before we have lodged a bid of £28.6 million, according to the BBC. This seems likely to go up considerably, until United say ‘any more, and no De Gea for you.’ We are in a strong position.

We’re still losing David de Gea so gloating is hardly the order of the day, but it feels considerably as if the chickens are coming home to roost for Perez. His itchy manager-sacking trigger finger has cost him Ramos, who along with Ronaldo was a big fan of Carlo Ancelotti. Ramos clearly does not fancy the prospect of working with Rafael Benitez next year.

Ramos might not be perfect, and possibly a little bit crazy – 19 red cards is a La Liga record, don’t you know – but he’s a leader. I’ve said before how our team lacks leadership from the back and Sergio Ramos, if this goes through, will bring that to the back line. Football365 wrote the other week that Ramos’s WhoScored.com rating (7.42) ranked among the top 15 players in La Liga last season and stayed around that mark for the entire year. He may be 29 but he’s still a force and the best we’re going to get for the price, considering we can probably forget about Raphael Varane seeing as he’s 22 and plays for… Real Madrid.

If and when Ramos puts pen to paper, it’s officially time to start getting excited about next season. We now have time to work with to strengthen in other areas. We still need a striker, a right back and preferably another midfielder (Schneiderlin could be on his way but Koeman has said there is nothing official at this point) and if we can get two of those filled we might at least be able to get in Chelsea’s face next season.

Manchester City have done absolutely nothing in the transfer market yet other than get rid of their second-best player which is good news, but as I said, plenty of time yet for them to make moves. With all of Liverpool’s signings, back-up jokes or not, Petr Cech at Arsenal and Chelsea likely to be the team to beat again, things are getting hot hot hot.

Oh, meanwhile, Phil Jones has signed a new contract. Talk about getting your thunder stolen.

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