Man Utd urged to consider signing ‘top player’ on free transfer but issued Chelsea warning
Manchester United “could do a lot worse” than looking to sign Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos on a free transfer in the summer but must be wary that veteran Thiago Silva has struggled with the pace and tempo of the Premier League. That’s the verdict of Dimitar Berbatov, who thinks Ramos remains a “top player”.
Ramos has spent the last 15 years of his career at Madrid, making 666 appearances at the Bernabeu and scoring an impressive 100 goals.
The Spain international has played in 13 of Los Blancos’ 17 La Liga matches this term and is looking to win his sixth league title with the club and what would be his 23rd piece of silverware in Madrid.
But World Cup winner Ramos turns 35 in March and has yet to agree a contract extension to stay at the club, amid suggestions the player and his employers are well apart in discussions.
Ramos is said to want a two-year extension but Real Madrid are reluctant to commit to a deal any longer than a single season, with it possible the decorated centre-back could be headed for the exit door in the summer transfer window.
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And former United striker Berbatov believes Ramos should be on the radar of the Red Devils, although thinks Silva – a defender of similar prestige and experience who signed for Chelsea – should serve as an example of what to expect if they do sign the Spaniard.
Berbatov wrote for Betfair: “I have always said that United need another defender, but looking at the recent performances of Eric Bailly, if he stays focused and injury free then he can be a rock at the back of defence.
“But if United are going to buy someone, especially at this point in the season, them to be a perfect fit for the team. I don’t think they need anyone at the moment.
“I have read the reports about Sergio Ramos and there is a lot of speculation about his future. He could bring a lot of experience and steel to any team.
“Although he is 34, he is still a top player and United could do a lot worse. If he is available I can see a lot of teams interested in signing him.
“At his age of course Real Madrid are reluctant to offer him a long contract. Maybe they are arguing about money because it always comes down to money, but both sides should think long and hard about it because the grass isn’t always greener.
“Thiago Silva is 36, he moved to Chelsea and, although he hasn’t been that bad, to me it looks as though he is struggling to keep up with the pace of the Premier League.
“I have no doubts that players would love to join United but January is a tough time to move.
“Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Bruno Fernandes did it, and turned out to be great signings, but the same was not true for others who joined at this time of year.”
Similarly to Berbatov, former United defender Rio Ferdinand believes the former Villarreal defender Bailly can be the answer at United.
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The Ivorian’s time at the club have seen him riddled with injuries and those knocks have limited his impact but Ferdinand reckons Bailly is the ideal partner to captain Harry Maguire.
“A big thing that has gone under the radar is Eric Bailly,” Ferdinand said on his YouTube channel FIVE.
“He’s added a little bit of pace and steeliness to that back four. My only issue with Eric Bailly has always been his fitness, he can never stay fit.
“He’s always injured or a game away from an injury, and that’s a problem. You don’t get that consistency of performance or get to know each other.
“I think Maguire needs pace next to him – he has other attributes, but pace isn’t one of them. In the modern game, to have two centre-backs who aren’t electric quick, you’ve got a problem.
“Bailly has good attributes, he’s quick and aggressive. If he can cut the silly mistakes out, which he had previously, and gets away from injuries and gets a clean bill of health, I think Manchester United are onto a good thing.”
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