After being such an influential player for club and country, Sergio Ramos now finds himself in uncharted territory. If his omission from the Spain squad for Euro 2020 wasn’t enough of a surprise, the 35-year-old leaving Real Madrid certainly trumped that. Both situations could make him an ideal target for Manchester United.

Despite being out of action since March with tendonitis in his left hamstring, Ramos was close to full fitness at the time Luis Enrique announced his final Euro 2020 squad. Alongside many other questionable player choices made by Enrique, the decision to leave Ramos out of the squad was lambasted by the Spanish media.

Not one Spaniard features highly in the latest player of the tournament odds after La Roja opened their account at Euro 2020 with a frustrating 0-0 draw against Sweden. By comparison, current Manchester United players Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are firm candidates, with France and Portugal both fancied to go far at the tournament.

So why should any of this affect the Red Devils? Well, we already know that one transfer priority at Old Trafford is acquiring another central defender. Thus far the leading target has been Raphaël Varane, given the 28-year-old Frenchman has just one year left on his contract at Real Madrid. Due to massive debts, the Spanish giants are apparently open to offers.

Nevertheless, any move for Varane is filled with complications. According to the Manchester Evening News, one offer worth £50 million has already been rejected, with Real Madrid supremo Florentino Pérez holding out for a bigger bid. He seems to value the player at around £80 million, which seems a ludicrous amount for United to pay, taking his contract situation into account.
There will inevitably be stiff competition to land Varane, especially if Paris Saint-Germain pursues an interest that has been widely reported in the French media. Likewise, the French club is less likely to baulk at the higher valuation, which has inevitably led United to become hesitant about raising their own offer.

Now that Ramos has become available on a free transfer, it could be the ideal opportunity for United to rekindle their long-standing admiration of the Spaniard. Many fans will recall the failed attempt made in 2015, when Ramos had no serious desire to leave Real Madrid, utilising interest from the Red Devils to improve his contract terms at the Santiago Bernabéu.

While that situation has inevitably left a sour taste, it really should be viewed as water under the bridge. Despite his advanced age, Ramos remains a genuinely world-class defender. His leadership and experience would be valuable assets, accompanied by a fierce level of determination and superb technical ability. What’s more, Ramos would be the more cost-effective defensive option, if moving for Varane becomes impossible.

Instead of entering into what could become an expensive auction for Varane, it would be remiss of United to ignore the possibility of getting Ramos instead. When such quality is available on a free transfer, even taking his wage demands into account, signing Ramos is now a unique opportunity that cannot be missed.