Manchester United are poised to complete the overhaul of their defence by signing Raphael Varane, 23. The Real Madrid centre back is unsettled having fallen down the pecking order at the Bernabeu and is keen on reuniting with former boss, Jose Mourinho, at Old Trafford.
With Eric Bailly, 22, arriving from Villarreal, the Portuguese manager is eager to bring competition to the central defensive roles. Bringing in the young but experienced Varane would ease the pressure on Bailly to perform immediately.
The Ivory Coast defender has yet to complete 100 league appearances whilst Varane, with 29 international caps to his name, is close to that figure with Real Madrid. His current deal, signed last year, runs until 2020 with Zinedine Zidane aware of his compatriot’s growing unease at his situation.
Varane missed out on the Champions League victory over city neighbours, Atletico, and compounding his misery, suffered a hamstring injury which ruled him out of Euro 2016.
Real Madrid insiders fear the French international is open to a move which will guarantee him first team football and with United being re-modelled by Mourinho, there is plenty of scope for Varane to nail down a pivotal role in the side.
Mourinho signed Varane during his spell in charge of Real Madrid, bringing the youngster into the starting line-up gradually, keen to give the Frenchman experience. It paid off as he played in the 2014 Champions League final ahead of Portuguese rival, Pepe, 33. The roles were reversed last season with Zidane preferring the older player more often than not.
Real fear this change may spark the move to Old Trafford, with a fee expected to be similar to the £25m United paid for Bailly.
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