UPDATE: What everyone expected to happen, has happened. Sergio Ramos has signed a new deal at Real Madrid putting an end to months of speculation that he may leave the Bernabeu in favour of a switch to Man United.
It was always a possibility. Ramos wanted to be recognised as one of Real Madrid's top earners, Madrid didn't want to lose him but, if he was going to leave, Man United were more than willing to step up.
The fact that the David De Gea situation was unfolding parallel to this made it seem all the more likely that Ramos could genuinely end up at Old Trafford. For his part, the Spanish defender certainly made it clear that he would be willing to leave the Bernabeu if his demands weren't met.
However, as much as he may have denied it, there was always the suspicion that he was using United's interest to get a better deal at Madrid. He may have been offered as much as €12 million a season to move to England but was his real desire always to stay in La Liga?
It seems the answer to that is yes. Ramos has now signed a new deal that will see him earn significantly less to stay at Madrid. Marca, which is not opposed to trotting out the Madrid party line from time to time, says Ramos will put pen to paper on an improved deal that could still see him €3 million worse off than had he moved to Old Trafford.
Marca are saying that Ramos did not toy with United but, now that he has signed on, it's hard to view it in any other way. One thing's for certain, with David De Gea edging towards Madrid (either this summer or next), Man United look to have come away from these protracted negotiations as the losing party.