Rumour: Manchester United close in on Raphael Varane


Jose Mourinho’s relentless determination to overhaul the Manchester United defence has led him back to old stomping ground Real Madrid, with their French centre back, Raphael Varane, 23, in his sights.

The Portuguese manager signed Varane from Lens as an eighteen year-old in 2011 for a fee of around €10m. Since then, he has made 150 appearances for Los Merengues but during Ancelotti and Zidane’s managerial reigns has become more of a squad player than cementing his place in the starting line-up.

It has impacted on his progress for the French international squad with Varane making just two appearances during 2016 for Les Bleus. Selected by Didier Deschamps for Euro 2016, a thigh injury suffered in May ruled him out of the squad to compound a year of disappointments.

Real Madrid, looking to fund an expensive summer, are prepared to enter into negotiations for Varane with United, so far, the only suitors.

Mourinho is looking for ball-playing centre backs to replace the unreliable Smalling and Jones in the back four and has already signed Eric Bailly, 22, from Villarreal for £30m.

With Marcos Rojo, 26, already told to find a new club, and reports that Italian international, Matteo Darmian, 26, being pursued by Juventus, a refresh of the parsimonious United back four is under way.


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