Manchester United are exploring the possibility of signing Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane this summer, as reported by the Daily Mail.
What's the latest news involving Varane?
The Red Devils are believed to view Varane as the ideal partner for Harry Maguire at the heart of their defence ahead of the 2021/22 season.
It may not be a straightforward deal for United, though, as they could face competition from French champions PSG, who Varane supported as a child.
Have United shown interest in him before?
Indeed they have. Back in 2016, Jose Mourinho reportedly wanted to make Varane his first signing (AS via talkSPORT) upon taking the manager's post at Old Trafford.
His admiration for Varane stretches even further back than that. In 2014, Mourinho made his thoughts on Varane crystal clear.
As quoted by Goal, the Portuguese coach said: "I think Varane is the best central defender in the world. He is still young, but I think he's the best. Already, yes. I think he's the best defender."
That endorsement came seven years ago but it's unlikely Mourinho's thoughts on Varane have changed much - since then he's won Champions League title with Real Madrid and the World Cup.
What are his stats from this season?
Varane has been a regular starter for Real this season, making 27 appearances in La Liga and helping the side move into title contention.
When comparing his statistics to that of Maguire's current centre-back partner Victor Lindelof, Varane holds the edge in a number of categories over the Swedish defender.
What is Varane's market valuation?
It is understood that Real value Varane, who earns £197,000-a-week in the Spanish capital, at around the £60m mark.
However, United are reportedly hopeful that they will be able to lower
Real's asking price. Their chances of succeeding with this could be helped by the fact that Varane only has one year left on his contract at Real, meaning that this summer represents their final realistic opportunity to get a significant fee for the 27-year-old.
A statement of intent from Judge and Murtough?
This summer is set to be the first transfer window with Matt Judge and John Murtough in their new positions of director of football and football director, respectively.
It seems that they will want to start with a bang and by getting Varane, they would be putting down an early marker with a signing that could significantly swing the balance of power in the Premier League title race.
This season, United have watched their rivals Manchester City run away with the Premier League, in large part due to a run of 15 consecutive victories that included ten clean sheets, and they need to try and close the gap between the two clubs by using the transfer market well in the coming months.
Bringing in Varane, a world champion and four-time Champions League winner, would certainly send out a clear message that United are not willing to settle for second best by bringing in world-class quality, and have every intention of knocking City off their perch next year.
Creating a defensive bedrock of Maguire and Varane could well be the game-changer for United in that respect, giving United the platform defensively to not only grind out more victories but also allow the rest of the team more creative freedom going forward.News Now - Sport News