Real Madrid are facing a battle to keep Raphael Varane this summer and expect Manchester United to renew their interest in the France centre-back.
United are long-term admirers of the 28-year-old defender, but he was not for sale three years ago during Jose Mourinho’s time at the club when they were looking at a £100 million (€115.5m) outlay.
The Spanish champions are set to accept a much lower price this summer as Varane will have just one year left on his deal at the Bernabeu.
After considering Varane in 2018, United turned their attention to Harry Maguire the following summer, but are now in the market for a long-term partner for the England centre-back.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer considers the shortcomings in central defence a priority position to address, but the manager could also be forced to make some difficult decisions.
Sources at Old Trafford have indicated that United may struggle to finance a bid for a top-class centre-back – such as Varane – and make a move for Erling Haaland, who is coveted by rivals Manchester City and Chelsea as well as a number of leading clubs in Europe. The Norway striker has a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave Borussia Dortmund for €75 million next year, but he would fetch a substantially higher fee this summer if the German club opted to cash in and that could prove beyond United if they follow through on their desire to sign a leading centre-half.
United’s latest quarterly accounts for the three months to December 31 are due to be published tomorrow and will likely offer a sobering reminder of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the club’s finances.
Yesterday Solskjaer said: “It’s definitely affecting everyone in football. We have to be realistic and responsible in the way we do our business both on and off the pitch.”
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Manchester United v Crystal Palace, Sky Sports, 8.15
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