Man Utd chief John Murtough may have secret weapon in Raphael Varane transfer approach

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Manchester United chief John Murtough could be inclined to use Donny van de Beek in order to sign Raphael Varane this summer, with Real Madrid keen to take the Dutchman on loan, according to reports. The Red Devils have been heavily linked with Varane in recent months as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to land a new centre-back to partner Harry Maguire next season.

The Real defender is believed to have been on United’s radar for a number of years, but it seems as though a move away from the Bernabeu could be a genuine possibility this summer.

Varane will be out of contract at the end of next season and is yet to agree fresh terms with the Spanish giants, leaving them with a dilemma over whether to cash in now or risk losing him for nothing in a year’s time.

United are said to have opened talks with Real over the possibility of a move ahead of the new campaign, with the 13-time European champions reportedly slapping a £50million price tag on their man.

However, Murtough could benefit from driving down Varane’s asking price by including the services of Van de Beek as part of any deal.

The 24-year-old midfielder has struggled to live up to expectations since joining United last summer but is admired by Real, who would be interested in bringing him to the Spanish capital on a temporary basis, according to The Sun.

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The report claims that Van de Beek could join the La Liga heavyweights on an initial 12-month loan deal with an option to buy.

United are said to have been encouraged by Real’s desire to land the playmaker, who they believe can be used as a bargaining chip in order to secure Varane’s capture.

Real were pipped by the Red Devils to the signing of Van de Beek last summer, agreeing personal terms with the former Ajax man before they were forced to pull the plug on the proposed move.

He made 36 appearances in all competitions for United last season but started just four Premier League matches.

If United can successfully include Van de Beek in a deal that would see Varane go the other way to Old Trafford, it would represent a significant coup for the club, who are crying out for additional quality in order to challenge Manchester City for next season’s title.

However, former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol has suggested that the 20-time Premier League champions should exercise caution in their pursuit of Varane, highlighting the Frenchman’s lack of form at the back end of last season.

“Yes, absolutely [a deal makes sense], I think he’s better than [Victor] Lindelof,” Nicol told ESPN.

“I think the worrying thing is that Varane’s coming off a season where he made a lot of high-profile mistakes.

“You wonder whether is last season an indicator he’s beginning to drop a little bit? That would be my worry.

“It’s going to be a lot of money. It might be spending a lot of money who, actually for his age is pretty early going the other way.”

Varane played 41 times for Real in all competitions last season, popping up with two goals in the process.

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