Manchester United never thought they would be able to get as close as they are to a deal for Raphael Varane, according to one journalist.
The Red Devils have identified the centre-back as the ideal man to form a long-term partnership with captain Harry Maguire. The France international initially seemed doubtful over his future, but he now feels fully committed to leaving. As a result, United have stepped up their chase for his signature.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly wants to fit Varane into a new formation from next season.
According to Eurosport journalist Dean Jones, though, those above Solskjaer at United had never even properly considered signing him – until last weekend.
“Manchester United can see the finish line on this deal,” Jones told The Football Terrace. “And that’s the place they’ve dreamed of being in recent weeks.
“They honestly were never sure it would go this far. And I spoke to someone over the weekend and I could really tell that the optimism, and the hope, were really there.
“This week was always going to be a big week because it’s a telling time for Madrid to get involved in this.
“And United, obviously, know the player is keen at this point. They finally believe the player was serious about coming to United. “And now Real Madrid have been informed that is the case. Obviously, now, it’s all about a fee.”
Previous reports have claimed that the Red Devils will pay Madrid £50million for Varane.
Despite the deal getting close, though, United reportedly still have concerns about the transfer going through.
Varane, Man Utd transfer in balance
“United do not want to go over £50m so I’m a bit sceptical about this being done in the next few hours because that’s a lot of negotiating to be done,” Jones added.
“But things are definitely heading in the right direction and Varane does expect to become a United player. And that’s a big indication of how far the deal has gone at this point.
“Obviously, United are concerned this won’t happen. They’re not done yet. This is not a done deal.
“But it’s close. It’s getting close.”
Meanwhile, Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti reportedly has a plan to offset the impact of Varane leaving. Indeed, Madrid have already lost Sergio Ramos this summer.