Friday 23 March 2018

Manchester United 'ready £25m offer' for Raphael Varane after missing out on Mats Hummels

Real Madrid's French defender Raphael Varane is one of the most highly-rated young players in Europe. Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Real Madrid's French defender Raphael Varane is one of the most highly-rated young players in Europe. Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Jack De Menezes

Manchester United are ready to offer Real Madrid £25m for out-of-favour centre-back Raphael Varane after seeing long-term target Mats Hummels agree a deal to join Bayern Munich in the summer, it is being reported.

German club Borussia Dortmund announced on Tuesday that a deal was in place for Hummels to return to Bayern eight years after leaving the Bavarian club, with Bayern also announcing the acquisition of another United target in Renato Sanches on the same day.

23-year-old Varane has been a long-term target of United’s too, given that Sir Alex Ferguson looked at signing the France defender in 2011, only to pay around £16m for Phil Jones in a deal with Blackburn Rovers instead.

Varane, who left French side Lens to join Real that same year, went on to break into the France national team and was rated as one of the most promising defenders in Europe, but he has been unable to oust either Sergio Ramos or Pepe from the starting line-up at the Santiago Bernabeu and The Mirror reports that United will look to sign the centre-back once again in the summer.

One potential factor in Varane’s future could be the fate of United manager Louis van Gaal. Jose Mourinho signed Varane for Real in 2011 and is believed to be keen in bringing him to Old Trafford if he gets the job, but United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is determined to stick with the Dutchman for next season to see out his contract.

As revealed by the Independent, Van Gaal personally vetoed a move for Sanches, leaving the door open for Bayern to swoop in and sign the 18-year-old in an initial £27.6m deal. The fact that Van Gaal is still allowed such a major say in transfer dealings suggests he will still be at the club next season, although that could well have changed following United’s 3-2 defeat by West Ham on Tuesday night that leaves United on the brink of missing out on Champions League qualification.

United need to win their final match of the season against Bournemouth on Sunday and hope that rivals Manchester City suffer defeat at Swansea in order to secure fourth place. Van Gaal does still have the chance to win the FA Cup as United face Crystal Palace in the final a week on Saturday, but it’s unknown if that alone will be enough to save Van Gaal’s job.

The club are determined to strengthen their defence this summer, having missed out on Hummels last year, and despite having a reliable defence in the Premier League Van Gaal has been hampered by a lack of options to select. Phil Jones has missed much of the season through injury, and while Chris Smalling and Daley Blind have formed a strong partnership in conceding the second lowest number of goals this term, questions remain over Blind’s suitability given he is a natural midfielder.

Independent News Service

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