Raphael Varane is edging closer to becoming a Manchester United player.
The World Cup winner has refused a €9 million per annum (£7.75m or £150k per week) contract extension offer from Real Madrid and is rumoured to want a fresh challenge elsewhere.
United have been heavily linked with the 28-year-old as they seek to strengthen at the heart of a defence that leaked too many goals in the 2020/21 season.
Real had been reported to be willing to sell at Varane’s market value of €60 million (£52m), but yesterday United received a boost when it was reported in Spain that los Blancos would be willing to drop their price.
‘Manchester United are going for him and are offering him €12m [£10.3m or £198,000 per week] per season, an unbeatable figure for Florentino Pérez.’
A figure of £40 million has been mooted in the press for some months as United’s target amount, so if Mundo’s report is true, it would appear that a deal is close.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the Red Devils are being used by the player’s representatives to try to improve the offer to stay from los Blancos, as happened in the case of Sergio Ramos in 2015 and 2018.
However, given the current financial crisis and the healthy increase already offered by the Spanish club, it seems highly unlikely that such a tactic would work on this occasion.
€50 million at this stage would be a financial godsend for Madrid and they have already signed a potential replacement for the 28-year-old in David Alaba, who they snapped up for free after he ran out his Bayern Munich contract.
A potential complication to the deal is United’s notoriously penny-pinching and inept transfer negotiators, who might become over-complacent about the situation and attempt to low-ball Real with a further reduced offer.
They will see that other clubs capable of matching their salary offer have already made their centre back moves. For example, Bayern Munich have signed Dayot Upamecano, Liverpool have signed Ibrahima Konate and Manchester City have a full complement with the likes of Dias, Stones and Ake.
Nonetheless, if the price becomes too low then Real might simply increase their offer to keep Varane, especially if Ramos also leaves the Bernabeu, which this time is a distinct possibility.