Manchester United have been handed a major boost to their hopes of signing Real Madrid centre back Raphael Varane.
The Frenchman is considered one of the best centre backs in the world and United are known to have long been admirers of his elegant and intelligent style of defending.
It has been well-publicised that Varane is yet to sign a new contract at the Bernabeu and a new report from Spanish outlet AS claims that he has told los Blancos he wants to leave.
‘Raphael Varane’s (27 years old) continuity at Real Madrid is in the air,’ the outlet says.
‘The French defender ends his contract in 2022, he has not renewed and he seriously values the option of requesting a transfer next summer.
‘This situation is not new, because in 2019 he also wanted to leave the club (Zidane’s return made him change his mind), although now the footballer has a very different position of strength from two years ago: if Madrid do not sell him this summer he could go free next season.’
United will be wary of getting too excited about the news, having fallen into the trap of having their name used by Madrid defenders as a bargaining chip in contract negotiations. However, AS seem convinced:
‘Los Blancos … are aware that the situation is difficult to reverse because it has nothing to do with economics.
‘The French defender will be 28 when he finishes this season and believes that it is time to try an experience in another football world, probably in the Premier League.
‘He came to Madrid from Lens in 2011, when he was only 18 years old, so he has spent almost his entire career at the Bernabéu. If he now he signs another long contract with los Blancos, his dream of trying another league while in the prime of his career would be over.’
The article goes on to say that Real were already planning a summer clearout and whilst Varane’s name was not initially on the list, they would be willing to sell him if he really wants to go.
‘Los Blancos have suspected for months that Varane will ask to leave next summer. For this reason, contacts with different defenders have been more aimed at looking for substitutes for the Frenchman than for Ramos, since the captain has on the table a renewal offer to which he has not yet answered definitively.’
What kind of price los Merengues will put on Varane’s head, with one year left on his contract, remains to be seen. His market value according to Transfermarkt is €70 million (£60m), which is less than the €80 million buyout clause of United’s other main reported target, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.