Manchester United are just €5 million (£4.3m) away from landing top centre back target Raphael Varane but Real Madrid will not budge on their valuation.
Reports throughout the summer have been linking the Frenchman with a move to Old Trafford as he comes into the last year of his Real Madrid contract and is refusing to sign the renewal offer on the table.
Recent reports have suggested that the two clubs were around £10 million or more apart in their valuations of the player but ABC Deportes this morning claims that the gap has been closed to just €5 million, or £4.3 million.
However, they also say that Real Madrid have drawn a line in the sand. United will have to bridge that gap themselves or los Blancos will keep him at the Bernabeu for another season, even if it means he leaves for free next summer.
‘Los Blancos would like to transfer him, but if there is not a minimum offer of €50 million he will stay and fulfill the contract,’ the outlet claims.
‘Up to today, United have offered a maximum of €45 million [£39m]’.
‘He wants to go to Manchester but … los Blancos, for that price, will not let go. In that hypothesis, if the proposal does not rise, “Rafa”, as the dressing room calls him, will continue in the squad.’
‘The most likely thing is that he will be transferred to Manchester United, but Real Madrid will not sell Varane cheaply. The Frenchman will remain at home in the last year of his contract, as Bale has decided, if the English club does not offer at least 50 million euros.’
The news will excite Manchester United fans and puts the Red Devils within a whisker of landing one of the world’s top centre backs.
Varane’s arrival could also help to persuade countryman and fellow World Cup winner Paul Pogba to renew at Old Trafford and that, in turn, could help to persuade United’ reported top midfield target, Eduardo Camavinga, to also join the French foreign legion at Carrington.
Another promising element of ABC’s account is that they claim that Real have only offered Varane a €7 million (£6m) salary to stay at the Bernabeu, an increase from €5.5 million (£4.7m). Previous reports have claimed that they have offered him €9 million (£7.7m), an increase from €7 m.
Varane would be willing to stay in Madrid but is demanding the same salary as new signing David Alaba, which is €12 million (£10.3m) – a figure United are willing to match. So by ABC’s report, the gap between Real’s offer and Varane’s demand is massive – €5 million (£4.3m).
Whilst all reports agree that there is still the possibility of a u-turn, especially if los Merengues improve their offer, today’s offering from ABC is the most promising yet that Varane is extremely close to joining United and that the gap left to be bridged is much smaller than previously thought.