Gary Neville has named Raphael Varane as the main player Manchester United should target in the summer transfer window.
It will be an important summer at Old Trafford as they look to strengthen. They were top of the Premier League in January, but rivals Manchester City have since stormed past them. United will need to look for players who can make their next title challenge more sustainable.
Defence is one of the areas they are hoping to strengthen. Harry Maguire is firmly established in the team as club captain, but United are yet to be convinced of who his ideal partner should be.
Victor Lindelof has been inconsistent throughout his time at the club, while Eric Bailly is growing frustrated at his lack of opportunities. Therefore, the club want to sign another option they can rely on.
A recent report suggested they had whittled their shortlist down to six names. Of those potential targets, only four have been named: Varane, Ibrahima Konate, Jules Kounde and Pau Torres.
All four have been on United’s radar before and would be significant upgrades on what they have. They would have to spend big to sign any of them, though.
If they are to pursue one, it seems former right-back Neville would prefer Varane.
Answering a question in a Twitter Q&A about which player he would bring to United from a rival, his one-word response was simply Varane’s surname.
The Frenchman has spent 10 years with Real Madrid, winning 18 major trophies. For most of that time, he has been Sergio Ramos’ first-choice partner.
Clearly capable of being part of a successful defensive partnership, Varane is in the prime of his career at 27 years old. Also a World Cup winner with France, he would be an interesting addition to the United backline.
Previous reports have even suggested that he has chosen Old Trafford as his next destination. However, it seems there would still be a long way to go in negotiations.
Defence is not the only area United are looking to strengthen, but it is a priority. Asked about what the top three areas of focus should be, Neville added a striker and right winger, without naming any targets, to the shopping list.
Up front, Edinson Cavani is out of contract at the end of the season. He could sign a one-year extension but there has been a lot of talk about a potential return to South America.
That would leave United in need of a replacement and they have been linked with some big names like Erling Haaland and Mauro Icardi.
Out wide, they spent all last summer focusing on Jadon Sancho. However, they were unable to meet Borussia Dortmund’s asking price.
They added younger options like Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri, but may be looking for someone who can step up here and now.
Neville makes goalkeeper pick
Elsewhere, another dilemma for United is what to do with their goalkeeping situation.
David De Gea has fallen out of form in recent years. However, Dean Henderson has not had as many opportunities to push him as expected after returning from his loan spell at Sheffield United last summer.
United must now weigh up which one to put their faith in for next season, and Neville wants to see Henderson get some chances to prove himself before the current campaign ends.
“Both have questions to answer for different reasons,” he wrote. “Can DG get back to his level and can Henderson get to the level DG was at.
“Henderson deserves the last league games to test him.”