Real Madrid's defence might have to brace for a dramatic change after rumours emerged claiming captain Sergio Ramos may move to Manchester United in the summer, with Marcos Rojo heading in the opposite direction.
Ramos was linked to Old Trafford last summer, but agent Francois Gallardo said the move is possible and told Spanish outlet Fichajes that whichever club lands manager Pep Guardiola next summer will be the favourites to sign Ramos (h/t Metro's George Bellshaw).
It's already been confirmed Guardiola will leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, with Carlo Ancelotti taking over at the Allianz Arena. However, the Spaniard's next destination is yet to be decided.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has a contract until the summer of 2017, but his place in the management hot seat is under fire. What's more, ex-Barcelona midfielder Xavi stoked the flames of speculation recently after proclaiming Guardiola wants to manage in England, per David Anderson of the Daily Mirror:
There was never a question of if Pep was going to manage in England - the only question would be when. When I was at Barcelona we would always be talking about the Premier League, and our respect for the quality of the teams, the players, and the pace the game was played at.
Even when he was at Barcelona, you could see it was his dream to one day manage in England.
Bellshaw's report states Los Blancos President Florentino Perez wants to sell his centre-back "for between £44 million and £58.7 million," and he figures the Red Devils could meet the demands depending on their desire to strengthen.
Van Gaal has looked to Chris Smalling and Daley Blind as his pairing of choice in central defence, but it's hardly the world-beating lineup some at Old Trafford would hope to lead their side back to the glory days.
Rumours of Real's desire to sell Ramos are odd given it hasn't even been six months since it was announced he signed a new five-year contract the Bernabeu, making him one of the club's highest-paid stars.
However, Ramos did cause some confusion in December after responding to Perez's comments that former manager Rafa Benitez had the club's full support. He added, per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan: "If 'el presi' says that for sure it must be for a reason. We are all just pawns here, and he [Florentino] is the king."
United's defence may be in better shape this season had Rojo managed to stay fit, but Real are nevertheless willing to take a risk on the defender with a winter move, according to Fichajes (h/t James Cambridge of the Daily Express).
Rojo has made just 11 appearances across all competitions this term after being sidelined with several injuries. However, the Manchester Evening News at least confirmed he was using his downtime well, such as travelling with United's fans to away fixtures:
Man United News @ManUtdMEN
Marcos Rojo becomes the latest Manchester United player to sit in the away end https://t.co/1w2qKssQI0 #mufc https://t.co/rwTeT6Ko3o12/27/2015, 2:00:20 PM
According to Cambridge, newly installed Real chief Zinedine Zidane could make Rojo his first signing as he seeks cover for left-back Marcelo. Los Merengues have utilised Nacho, Danilo and Alvaro Arbeloa as cover in the position during Marcelo's absences, but none of them are natural assets at left-back.
Rojo arrived at Old Trafford in 2014 and has made 37 appearances for Manchester United, but the club could consider a deal for the sidelined Argentinian and look to add a January recruit of their own.
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