Manchester United are exploring a summer deal for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.
The France international has been the subject of long-standing interest from United and they have been encouraged to leave Madrid at the end of this season, although there could be competition from Paris Saint-Germain, the club that Varane followed in his childhood.
Varane, 27, still has a year on contract after this summer and is still valued at around £ 60million by Madrid who will need to raise funds for their own reconstruction.
Manchester United explore summer deal for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane
United are reportedly hoping to reduce that figure, but the club increasingly recognize Varane fits the profile of defender he needs to play alongside Harry Maguire.
This view was recently echoed by former United defender Gary Neville who identified Varane as the perfect foil for Maguire, calling him an ‘incredible player’ and ahead of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk as the best defender in the world.
United have discussed a number of goals knowing they are working on a tight budget and also want striker and right-back coverage.
Red Bull Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate, wanted by Liverpool, has a fixed buyout clause, is young but has suffered disruptive injuries.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer United are a longtime admirer of the 27-year-old French defender
United believe Varane fits the profile of the defender they need to play alongside captain Harry Maguire (left)
Villarreal’s Pau Torres are talented but still raw while Seville’s Jules Kounde is seen as a defender with huge potential, but there are reservations as to whether he has the best physical attributes to compete in the Premier League, plus a clause repurchase agreement of £ 70 million. Nikola Milenkovic from Fiorentina was also offered.
Varane’s pedigree is unmistakable having won 18 trophies in 10 years in Madrid and a World Cup with France. Indeed, United have already tried to attract Varane.
Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him for United from Lens in 2011, but Madrid adviser Zinedine Zidane convinced Varane to move to Spain instead. United made approaches again in 2017 but were pushed back and brought in Victor Lindelof from Benfica.
There could be competition from Mauricio Pochettino and Paris St Germain, club Varane followed like a boy
Varane will miss Madrid’s Champions League quarter-finals second leg against Liverpool on Wednesday after returning a positive Covid test last week, but if they progress he will look to win his fifth Champions League trophy.
The Madrid squad, who are also missing Sergio Ramos due to an injury and a positive Covid test, flew to Liverpool on Tuesday morning before staying at the city’s Titanic hotel.
Club president Florentino Perez has been re-elected for the next four years and promises a new look in Madrid with PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Bayern Munich’s David Alaba at the forefront of their transfer plans. However, they are also prepared to make high profile sales to help fund the transition.
United have discussed a number of goals, including Jules Kounde (left) and Pau Torres (right)