Real Madrid: Varane coy when quizzed on future
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Real Madrid reportedly think Manchester United may be able to sign Raphael Varane for as little as £40million to £45m, according to reports. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made the France international the club’s top defensive transfer target. And though PSG and Chelsea have been linked, it’s a move to Old Trafford that’s looking increasingly likely.
Manchester United want a new defender this summer.
Solskjaer knows Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe aren’t presently up to scratch when it comes to partnering Harry Maguire at the back.
And though United are admirers of Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Villarreal’s Pau Torres, it’s Varane who is currently their main centre-back target.
Sir Alex Ferguson came close to landing the France international back in the summer transfer window of 2011, only to end up missing out after a personal intervention from Zinedine Zidane.
And Solskjaer is hoping to succeed where his predecessor failed by getting him in the door.
Now, The Athletic have delved into the situation – and claim sources in Madrid believe a deal could be feasible for around £40m to £45m.
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Previously, a fee in the region of £60m has been quoted.
But with Varane having just a year left on his current Bernabeu contract, and Real Madrid keen on snapping up Kylian Mbappe from PSG, they may find themselves willing to negotiate for far less instead.
It’s said that, in an ideal world, the La Liga titans would like an ‘auction’ for the player.
But their hopes of that happening were dented with Varane’s erratic performance for France against Hungary at Euro 2020, with the 28-year-old looking unconvincing throughout that match.
As things stand, Real are pessimistic when it comes to keeping the 2018 World Cup winner.
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And Varane could be about to follow in the footsteps of Sergio Ramos by quitting the club, with the Spain international’s departure already confirmed.
United were reportedly initially wary of going after the Real Madrid star, especially after being stung in the past when Ramos used them to secure a new contract.
But their interest is concrete and they’re hopeful they can get a deal for the centre-back over the line.
As well as Varane, United are also working towards a deal for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho – who has struggled for action for England at Euro 2020 so far.
And moves for Declan Rice, Jack Grealish and even Cristiano Ronaldo haven’t been ruled out behind the scenes, with Solskjaer an admirer of all three players.
Speaking in 2011, Varane admitted he came close to moving to United.
“Zidane called me and I asked him to call me back because I was studying for my baccalaureate,” he said.
“It’s my relaxed nature that made me react like that. You have to be care-free to deal with so many things at such a young age.
“But to be honest, after that call, my mind was elsewhere; it was hard to focus on revising!
“It was the craziest period of my life: I was getting ready for the baccalaureate, the phone was ringing off the hook, I visited the Real facilities, I met Alex Ferguson… Just imagine, I was doing exams and signing autographs for other students.
“It was surreal. I’m really proud of having passed.”
And, when speaking at the end of last season, Varane was coy over his Bernabeu future.
“My future is clear, I am focused on the end of the season,” he said.
“We are in an intense moment and all our focus is on the matches we have ahead.
“The message to the fans is that I am 100 per cent committed to the team. We have challenges that encourage us a lot. I am focused on giving everything on the field.”
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