Manchester United face the threat of missing out on the signing of Raphael Varane after Chelsea reportedly made a late attempt to hijack the deal from under their noses.
United had seemingly been growing in confidence that a deal for Varane will soon be secured. With 12 months remaining on his current deal, hopes are high a move can be made. Indeed, two independent outlets both reported this week that United will sign him, with Real’s arm twisted for two reasons.
Firstly, radio programme El Transistor on Onda Cero have tweeted: ‘Varane is going to Manchester United.
‘He is not working on renewing [with Real].
‘The agency that represents the Frenchman is in negotiations with the United.
‘The offer from United will arrive in the next days.”
That theory was also backed by Mundo Deportivo, who claimed on Thursday that Real are resigned to his exit.
Indeed, all that was left was for United to seemingly agree on a fee. To that end, Friday’s Paper Talk claimed that an agreement has now been reached.
However, all might not be as it seems, with Chelsea now ready to gatecrash the deal and launch a counter bid of their own. That’s according to Marca, who state Thomas Tuchel’s side have registered their interest late in the day and plan to hijack the Red Devils’ deal.
There is no hint that though whether their late interest will sway Varane to ditch Old Trafford for Stamford Bridge.
Indeed, they report Varane is still expected to opt for a move to Manchester United over Chelsea.
However, Tuchel remains intent on bringing a centre-back to Stamford Bridge this summer. The likes of Jules Kounde and Edmond Tapsoba have been mentioned as targets.
Varane key to United formation change
The signing of Varane at Old Trafford, meanwhile, will reportedly signal a change in formation at Old Trafford.
Often starting attacks in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the Portugal international has had a stellar impact.
Still, the partnership of Fred and Scott McTominay further back in midfield has formed the defensive bedrock. The pair have even earned the nickname ‘McFred’ among fans.
According to ESPN, though, the pair will be at risk because Solskjaer plans to adopt an attacking 4-3-3 formation from next season.
The Norwegian manager wants to include more of his attacking players in the formation, alongside one holding midfielder.
Indeed, he wants to see Donny van De Beek or Paul Pogba play alongside Fernandes in the midfield trio. Van de Beek struggled for game time in his debut season, but this would offer him a more central role.