Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has agreed a new five-year contract to stay at the Bernabeu until 2020, dismissing speculation linking the Spanish World Cup winner with a move to Manchester United. Louis van Gaal wants to sign a replacement for the illness-stricken Phil Jones, but those attempts appear to have failed with less than three weeks of the window remaining.
While Ramos was locked in talks over a new deal, with his initial contract set to expire in the summer of 2017, the 20-time English league champions reportedly launched a bid to sign the defender with potential offers ranging between €35m (£28.39m, $44.38m) and €90m, according to Spanish publication AS. Van Gaal refused to confirm any interest in signing the 28 year old and it now appears the speculation could have been a ruse to help Ramos win an improved contract.
Ramos' new contract will be marked by a special event at the Bernabeu, where the defender will appear alongside Real president Florentino Perez. United will meanwhile turn their attention to attempting to replace Jones and reinforce their back-four, which despite keeping two clean sheets at the start of the season is in need of freshening up.
"An event will be held in the Santiago Bernabéu's presidential box to mark Sergio Ramos' contract renewal," a club statement read. "Presiding over the event will be the Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, and the player himself, who will remain at the club for the next five seasons."
Speaking prior to the win over Aston Villa, Van Gaal admitted the loss of Jones to a blood clot discovered on his calf would force United into the market. "We have three [right-sided] centre-backs, we have Smalling, Jones and McNair, but if he is much better than them then it is possible," he said, according to The Mirror. "We go for the best players and it has to be possible.
"[Jones' injury] was very peculiar because he had the whole week tightness in his calf and he kept training but we have a very good doctor, because this doctor discovered a minor thrombosis. We don't take the risk so we went for a second opinion from a specialist in the hospital and that was yesterday. That was after my press conference so I couldn't say anything. A specialist has said we have a new medical treatment and we have to keep him out for three weeks and we have to watch him."
Marcos Rojo missed the win at Villa Park after being given a rest by Van Gaal following his exploits at the Copa America. The Argentina international joined United's pre-season tour late and despite starting the opening day win over Tottenham Hotspur he was left out to prolong his recuperation.