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Man Utd boost in £36m Argentine defender chase as Real Madrid concede defeat in transfer battle

Real Madrid have dropped their interest in Valencia’s Nicolas Otamendi after drawing the conclusion that Manchester United have already won the race for the centre-back’s signature, according to reports.

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Spanish newspaper AS, cited by the Mirror, claim that the Liga BBVA giants have turned their attentions away from the Argentina international; believing that the Red Devils have reached an agreement with the defender ahead of a summer transfer to the Premier League.

AS state that Los Blancos viewed the Valencia centre-back as a potential chief replacement for Sergio Ramos, another player linked to Old Trafford.

However, according to the report, new Real manager Rafael Benitez has conceded defeat for the 27-year-old – potentially paving the way for Louis van Gaal to complete the transfer – and has now instead turned his attentions to Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Ezequiel Garay.

The Daily Star, on Wednesday, reported that van Gaal is eyeing a new centre-back partnership at Old Trafford next season – possibly wanting Otamendi and Ramos to become the new Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at the Theatre of Dreams.

Nonetheless, neither player will come cheap in the summer window.

Ramos, according to the Daily Mail, carries a price-tag of £65m, while Otamendi has a release-clause of £35m, which Valencia are refusing to budge from [via the Daily Star].

What’s more, United supporters may be perplexed at van Gaal wanting to significantly alter the club’s back-line, particularly after Chris Smalling – who made 21 starts at centre-back last season – was handed a new contract until June 2019 [via BBC Sport]. Phil Jones – handed 22 starts in the same defensive position in the 2014-15 campaign – also signed a new four-year deal [via manutd.com].

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