Portuguese centre-back Pepe enters the final season of his Real Madrid contract without knowing what his future will be. His deal being renewed has not happened for a few months and the player is starting to think that his club are not going to do it. The board considers that, at 32 years old, the centre-back is reaching the moment where it is time for him to leave.
Pepe has seen the situation change radically in recent days, after Madrid decided that Sergio Ramos would be getting a new deal. The defender's possible move to Manchester United set off alarms at the Bernabeu, with Rafa Benitez not wanting to run the risk of losing Pepe too. But the meeting between Florentino Perez and Ramos in China changed the club's plan.
Pepe also has to contend with Raphael Varane, with Madrid understanding it is time to give the Frenchman a crack of the whip. Pepe may be out of the starting line up this season. Furthermore, the signing of young Real Zaragoza defender Jesus Vallejo is a clear message from the Madrid club. He will be playing on loan this season at Zaragoza but arriving after that.
If Pepe decides to continue at the Bernabeu for one final season - he arrived in 2007 for €30million - he might lose the chance to sign one more large contract in his career. So you can't rule out the player, represented by Jorge Mendes, trying to make a move before the transfer market closes on August 31.
Florentino Perez has made his bed with organising a new Ramos deal, and it would be difficult to justify extending the contract for a player who turns 33 next summer.