Rafa Benitez has insisted that Manchester United target Sergio Ramos will stay at Real Madrid.
Man United reportedly launched a £28.6m bid for the Spanish defender earlier this month.
Signing the 29-year-old was set to be part of a swap deal, with goalkeeper David De Gea going in the opposite direction.
However, Benitez, who was recently appointed as Madrid boss, is adamant that Ramos will remain at the Bernabeu next season.
“Sergio will be staying with us,” said Benitez.
Asked whether he was certain Ramos would say, he said: “For me, 100%. I insist that it is clear for me and the club, Sergio will be here. He’s a key player for us.”
Benitez, formerly of Liverpool, is understandably reluctant to do Man United any favours during this transfer window. Madrid’s unwillingness to sell Ramos could mean that De Gea won’t leave Old Trafford, since the deal supposedly relies on an exchange between the two clubs.
Ramos, who has been at Madrid for ten years, would enrich any defence in the world with his presence. His experience and level-headedness is something which undoubtedly caught van Gaal’s eye.
However, the Dutchman will need to continue his pursuit of a competent defender. It seems like Nicholas Otamendi is now van Gaal’s prime target. The Valencia defender has been on United’s radar for some time and could well be a favourable alternative to Ramos given his bullish approach to defending and relationship with Marcos Rojo.