Manchester United are edging closer to the signing of Raphael Varane after reportedly telling the club he wants a fresh challenge by making the move to Old Trafford.
United have high hopes of pulling off several major coups this summer. Their long-running pursuit of England winger Jadon Sancho has entered it’s second season. But that looks to be nearing a positive conclusion with Sancho now ‘on the verge’ of sealing the move.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s next priority will be the signing of a new centre-half as they seek a long-term partner for Harry Maguire.
Spanish pair Pau Torres and Sergio Ramos have both been strongly linked, while Jules Kounde remains another option. But the option that would arguably provide the greatest guarantee of success is Varane.
He’s been chased by United for a number of years. But with his deal at Real Madrid now having just 12 months to run, there’s a growing sense of opportunity for Solskjaer.
Widespread reports last week stated United’s initial £50m bid fell flat. Los Blancos apparently value the player at closer to £80m.
New boss Carlo Ancelotti fears he’ll lose the player, however, with just one year left at the Bernabeu. However, Real president Florentino Perez is seemingly doing his best to prevent the transfer going through.
However, United’s hopes have received something of a transfer breakthrough after a big claim in The Independent.
They state the player has now told Real Madrid he wants to leave for United. Furthermore, Varane is said to ‘want a new experience’ after spending 10 years with Los Blancos, who are in a transitional period.
In addition, Varane’s agent is reported to have already spoken with United over the switch.
There does, however, appear a sticking point, with the paper claiming the player is seeking £400,000 a week at Old Trafford.
That deal would see him installed as the club’s top earner, above David de Gea. It’s also more than the deal seemingly on the table for Paul Pogba.
Clearly there’s some talking to do on that front.
However, the Daily Mirror claims that if pay negotiations can be resolved, the deal appears straightforward for United.
And the capture of Varane will end a 10-year chase for the Red Devils. The France defender idolised Rio Ferdinand growing up, and he almost joined the club from Lens under Sir Alex Ferguson’s watch in 2011.
Torres will sign if Varane cannot
Failure to ultimately land Varane will likely see United instead move for Torres.
The 24-year-old Villarreal defender was thought to have held a release clause of around £43m within his contract. However, trusted football journalist Fabrizio Romano indicated the real figure is closer to £54m. Nevertheless, per the Manchester Evening News, there is a ‘growing belief’ he could soon call Old Trafford home.
They report that ‘progress’ has been made in their pursuit.
Torres was said to have been on the club’s radar for some time, and passed his final ‘audition’ when starring in the Europa League final clash that saw Torres’ Villarreal emerge victorious on penalties.
However, it’s Varane who remains the first choice and Torres will likely only be pushed forwards if efforts for the former fail.