Manchester United’s plans to sign Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane took a further blow this afternoon as it was revealed that Real Madrid have decided to keep the player.
Varane was unable to agree terms on a contract extension with los Blancos and with just a year remaining on his deal, it was looking increasingly likely that the club would cash in rather than losing him as a free agent next summer.
However, the announcement yesterday that club captain Sergio Ramos was also unable to secure a deal, and is leaving the club, leaves the Spanish giants facing the prospect of losing both centre backs at once.
Over the last 24 hours reports from The MEN and The Express claimed that United have already lodged a £50 million bid for the Frenchman but whether or not that is true – as it has not been reported yet in Spain – information from The Times does not bode well.
‘Madrid’s decision to end Ramos’s 16-year spell at the club has caused [President Florentino] Pérez to rethink his approach regarding the future of Varane,’ The Times’ Paul Hirst reports.
‘They were willing to cash in on Varane this summer and he has stated that he wanted to leave. The 28-year-old has one year left on his deal and United are one of a number of interested parties.
‘However, Ramos’s departure means that the new Real manager, Carlo Ancelotti, has a sizeable hole to fill in the centre of defence, so he wants to extend the France international’s contract and play him alongside David Alaba next season.’
If los Blancos do block any moves for the 28-year-old, it leaves United without a first choice transfer target on their wish list.
The Old Trafford club are, according to Hirst, ‘unlikely [to] make a move for Ramos, who wants a two-year contract worth more than £200,000 a week.
‘Manchester City have been linked with him but it is understood that they are not interested in the defender, who only played 21 matches this season after suffering six injuries and catching Covid-19.
‘Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites to sign Ramos, who won 22 major trophies with Madrid after arriving from Seville in 2005, but Major League Soccer in the United States is another option for the defender.’
Complicating the picture even more is the fact that Real’s two top targets to replace Ramos are reported to be Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Villareal’s Pau Torres, both also known to be on the Red Devils’ radar.
With Arsenal closing in on Brighton’s Ben White and Juventus on Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be wondering who might be left available to strengthen his centre-back roster, having lost both Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo in the last twelve months.