Manchester United’s pursuit of a high-profile centre-back has received a massive boost, with Real Madrid reportedly considering the sale of Raphael Varane.
Despite a few occasional blunders, Varane has been an omnipresent figure at the Santiago Bernabeu for almost a decade.
His performances alongside captain Sergio Ramos have earned him high praise from manager Zinedine Zidane.
The Frenchman has made a concerted effort in tying the 27-year-old down to a new blockbuster deal.
However, the player has shown no ambition to extend his stay in the Spanish capital and seems willing to move on to a new challenge.
With less than two years left on Varane’s contract, Madrid face a race against the clock to either persuade the defender to put pen-to-paper on a new deal or sell him in the summer.
According to Daily Mirror, the reigning La Liga champions are entertaining the idea of offloading the £70million-rated centre-back at the end of the season.
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After a relatively quiet January transfer window, United will return to spend big in the summer to close the gap on Manchester City.
Ed Woodward has already promised to continue investing heavily in restoring the club to the Premier League and Europe elite.
“We will continue to support Ole with a planned, long-term approach to recruitment, focused on the summer windows,” said the 49-year-old.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to bolster his defence and has already entrusted his recruitment team with the task of finding a top-class centre-back.
In addition to Varane, United are also credited with an interest in Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, Aston Villa star Tyrone Mings, and Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan.
Although Solskjaer is understood to be looking for a left-footed central defender to partner Harry Maguire, it is difficult to turn a blind eye on the prospect of signing a player of Varane’s calibre.
Despite being only 27, the Lille native boasts a wealth of experience and a winning mindset, having won four Champions League crowns and three La Liga titles with Madrid.
His experience, composure and anticipation are off the scale for a player of his age.
The France international has accrued over 350 appearances for Madrid since arriving from Lens in 2011 (incidentally, United under Sir Alex Ferguson also wanted him then).
There is no doubt Varane would help to relieve the pressure on Maguire and be a feature of United’s backline for years to come.