Manchester United may soon be in the position to make a move for long-term defensive target Raphael Varane.
That’s the opinion of the Manchester Evening News‘ chief United writer Samuel Luckhurst, who has outlined several reasons why a deal for the Real Madrid centre-back could be plausible.
United’s incompetence in the transfer market was highlighted after a central defender wasn’t brought in this summer, and humiliating home defeats to Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur where nine goals were conceded further exposed that mistake.
Harry Maguire, though improved in recent weeks, is not the sole answer to issues at the back and an elite defender has been needed for some time to provide some stability and authority to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s back four.
And one player who is widely accepted into that category is Varane, who now has two years left on his contract at the Bernabeu.
Varane, 27, has won three La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Real Madrid as well as the 2018 World Cup with France in a glittering career.
And despite performing below his best level in recent months, he is a player with a pedigree that can be matched by very few in world football.
The MEN report that Ed Woodward highlighted both Varane and PSG midfielder Marco Verratti as possible targets in 2018 but then manager Jose Mourinho did not see the transfers as realistic.
It is added that Varane would have been valued at above £100m two years ago but his price tag has dropped since then.
And some supporters would argue that a bid may be worthwhile if he costs a similar amount paid to Leicester City for Maguire.
Interestingly, Luckhurst also notes in his piece that Varane is a boyhood United fan and even idolised Rio Ferdinand growing up. Information like that will only add fuel to the fire should he choose to leave Madrid in the near future.
There is no suggestion United could be seriously weighing up a move yet for Varane, but he is the calibre of defender the club should be targeting to help accelerate their rebuild.