REAL MADRID

Real Madrid deliberating over offering Pepe a new contract

The centre-back can start negotiating with other clubs in three months' time. Madrid have doubts over offering a new contract and see Diego Llorente as his replacement.
Real Madrid-Deportivo: LaLiga matchday 20

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Madrid holding their horses on new Pepe contract

Real Madrid have cooled on renewing Pepe's contract and time is running out to strike a new deal with the centre-back. Under the current arrangement, Pepe's contract will expire in 2017 and from January 1st he will be free to start negotiating with other clubs. The player prefers to hold out and wait for Madrid to make the first move. “I'll wait until the last millisecond for Madrid. If I don't renew my contract I will consider quitting the game...”, he told El Larguero on 12 September.

If club and player do reach and agreement, it will be Pepe's third contract renewal  since he joined Madrid from Porto for 30 million euros in 2007, when Ramón Calderón was president. In 2011 he amplified his contract until 2016 and last year he signed his present contract which runs out next summer.

Madrid have their doubts about Pepe's future. Zidane sees Varane as first choice in central defence while in the Bernabéu offices, Diego Llorente, who is currently on loan at Málaga has the vote of confidence from backroom staff. Llorente will return in June (Málaga don't have an option to buy him) and could come back as early as January if any of Madrid's back four suffer a long-term injury. The club is also closely monitoring Jesús Vallejo, who is performing to a high level in his loan stint with Eintracht Frankfurt. If Pepe continues, it would effectively close the door on Vallejo's return...

Other pending contract renewals

Meanwhile, Cristiano, Modric and Isco will be out of contract in 2018 and Madrid usually deal with any pending renewals two years in advance, which suggests that all three will agree new terms this year. Madrid also want to extend Gareth Bale's contract until June 2021.