Six reasons why Sergio Ramos would be a Manchester United hero and a Premier League villain
Published 30/06/2015 | 11:15
So, Manchester United are looking to secure the services of Sergio Ramos as a sweetener for David de Gea's move to Real Madrid.
As mooted player exchanges go this would be very much a deluxe one (Ramos has an official buy-out clause of £143 million) but what is it about Real's barnstorming, passive-aggressive vice-captain that seems to have piqued United's interest?
1) He's up for a scrap
While the defensive "dark arts" are yet to be officially defined, Ramos is perhaps the game's best current exponent. His indiscretions are not limited to the under-the-radar offences such as shirt-tugging - Ramos will just as happily scythe a striker down as he would elbow him in the face.
His robust approach to marshalling Real Madrid's defence has yielded just the 19 red cards - averaging a set of marching orders every 23 games.
Ramos cleaned up his act last season, though, managing to avoid being sent off at all. Instead, he spread his indiscipline nice and thinly by picking up 23 yellow cards in 46 matches, suggesting - at 29 years old - he has established a level of reliable consistency in his foul play. The man is suddenly adept at walking the proverbial disciplinary tightrope.
A move to the Premier League would renew one of the most entertaining running battles in European football - Chelsea's Diego Costa will be thoroughly looking forward to it.
2) He can be wonderfully no-nonsense
If in doubt, kick it plumb into the lens of a TV camera. Chris Smalling can't do this.
3) He'll guarantee you a few crucial goals every season
Overall, Ramos has averaged a goal every eight games for Real Madrid since he arrived from Sevilla in 2005, which may atone for all the suspensions.
4) Manchester United are not currently blessed with assured centre-halves
Although Phil Jones and Sergio Ramos do sound like a riveting Premier League defensive partnership.
5) He has never quite grasped (literally) the concept of trophies
Dropping the Copa del Rey under the wheels of a bus suggested that Ramos boasts a classier brand of clumsiness than some of his prospective United teammates.
6) He looks like Val Kilmer, c.1990
Not, on the face of it, much of a valuable quality in football but a high-profile transfer could do wonders for Kilmer's stuttering film career. And someone will need to play Sergio Ramos in the inevitable film of his life.