Real Madrid to replace Man Utd target Ramos with Koscielny of Arsenal?
Real Madrid, 7/4 second-favourites to regain La Liga with Coral this coming campaign, will launch a £21m bid for Arsenal and France centre back Laurent Koscielny if they sell Sergio Ramos to Manchester United.
Spain centurion Ramos, 29, appears to be increasingly important to any business being conducted between Los Blancos and the Red Devils over star goalkeeper David de Gea, who is rumoured to have put his Manchester home up for sale.
United could offer up to £35m for Ramos, but Real would also want compatriot De Gea to come to the Spanish capital. Central defence has been perceived to be an area of particular weakness at Old Trafford since the decline of former Red Devils duo Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
If those deals are done, they will leave a hole in new Los Blancos boss Rafa Benitez’s defence and tabloid reports claim Gunners centre half Koscielny, also 29, is the man Madrid shall turn to.
Having just surpassed 200 appearances in an Arsenal shirt, Koscielny was in defence for back-to-back FA Cup triumphs. He has two years left on his current contract at the Emirates.
Given the paucity of centre back options open to Arsene Wenger, the Gunners would not sell Koscielny cheaply, but their resolve would be tested by a bid in excess of £20m.
Like United, the heart of defence at Arsenal is considered to lack strength in depth with Koscielny one of three senior selections that plays naturally there. Per Mertesacker, a World Cup winner with Germany, and Brazilian winter window signing Gabriel Paulista are the others.
Should Koscielny exit the Emirates for the Bernabeu, he would link up with international teammate and Les Bleus defensive prodigy Raphael Varane, while also competing with Portugal bruiser Pepe and Real academy product Nacho Fernandez.
Los Blancos are 5/1 second-favourites to reclaim the Champions League, again from El Clasico rivals Barcelona.