Manchester United are reportedly ‘holding talks’ over a summer move for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, as the club continues its search for a suitable partner to captain Harry Maguire.
The French international is widely regarded as one of Europe’s best and most admired central defenders, having played a crucial role in helping Los Blancos to four Champions League triumphs in the last seven years, as well as three La Liga titles since his arrival from RC Lens a decade ago.
The 28-year-old has formed a superb partnership with the enigmatic Sergio Ramos at the heart of the Madrid defence in recent years, yet both men could well depart this summer, with neither player as of yet committing their futures to the Bernabeu.
Veteran Spain international, Ramos, could walk out the door for free at the end of the season, with his contract set to expire at the end of June, while his World Cup-winning teammate has just a year left on his remaining deal, leading to suggestions that he may well be sold in the summer.
Amid that current uncertainty, speculation has been rife that Varane is destined for a switch to the Premier League, with both Manchester United and Chelsea said to be interested, with the Manchester Evening News reporting that the Red Devils are already ‘holding talks’ with the player regarding a possible transfer.
The report suggests that the Premier League side are one of a number of clubs ‘holding dialogue’ with the player, with Liverpool another side said to be weighing up a move.
While the commanding defender will be available for free next summer, Madrid president Florentino Perez is seemingly keen to obtain a fee in the upcoming transfer window, should Varane opt not to agree to a new deal.
The player is said to be unhappy at the wage currently being offered by the La Liga side, believing he should be up there with the club’s highest earners, particularly after an immaculate ten years of service in the Spanish capital.
Should he fail to put pen to paper on a new contract, Perez will likely demand around £60m for the defender, a relatively reasonable figure for a player with plenty of years to offer.
As for United, they have long been admirers of the Frenchman, having missed out on his signature as a teenager back in 2011, the player ultimately opting to join the Spanish club that summer.
The report infers that the Red Devils were also keen on making a move following the 2018 World Cup, yet despite Ed Woodward’s willingness to sanction a £100m move, that figure was deemed significantly below his actual value.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has long been linked with a centre-back addition to partner the currently sidelined Harry Maguire, both Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly failing to really impress alongside the United skipper.