The never-ending Sergio Ramos contract saga rumbles on with reports from Spain tonight suggesting that the Real Madrid man has refused a new contract with the club.
The central defender is reportedly demanding £135,000-a-week from the Spanish giants, but Bernabeu bosses thought to be reluctant to pay up.
Ramos now appears out of reach, but that does not diminish United’s need for a new centre-back.
Ramos has two years left on his current Real Madrid deal but was poised for a new contract after holding successful talks with president Florentino Perez.
The most revealing outcome of the episode was the widely reported suggestion that Louis van Gaal would no longer be seeking to sign a defender now that Ramos had made himself unavailable.
United had made attempts to sign the 2010 World Cup victor, but he remained in the Madrid side for pre-season matches in Australia and China.
United are prepared to swap David de Gea for Ramos, whereas Real have insisted on negotiating the deals separately.
De Gea has been a target of Real Madrid for months now, but the club is not willing to match the Old Trafford outfit’s evaluation of him.
United have been linked with Ramos all summer but the proposed move hit the braks last week when it was revealed the player was in negotiations with Real and was keen to stay with the club.