Real Madrid are looking to hand their defender Pepe a new contract in order to ward off interest from Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City.
The 20-times English champions have struggled in their back four and are yet to find replacements for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, who left Old Trafford in the summer of 2014.
Earlier reports suggested that Louis van Gaal was planning to sign the Portuguese international to strengthen United’s central defending position. In addition to this, the Red Devils’ league rivals City are also in the race in signing Pepe.
The centre-back’s current deal at the Spanish capital club runs down in 2016 and has been one of the key players in the heart of Real’s back four, along with Sergio Ramos. His performance has seen him keep Raphael Varane on the bench this season.
According to the Spanish newspaper Marca (via Inside Spanish Football), the 10-times European winners are planning to hand the 31-year-old a new contract to keep him at Santiago Bernabéu beyond 2016.
Should Real manage to hold on to Pepe and hand him a new deal, it will force both United and City to look elsewhere in the transfer market.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese international’s extension will see Varane drop further down the pecking order and that will see the Frenchman struggle to get regular playing time. The situation could be an advantage for Chelsea in making a move for Real defender.
The Blues are planning to land Varane as a long-term successor for Chelsea skipper John Terry. United and City’s loss could eventually be Chelsea’s gain.