Manchester United are poised to pursue a transfer for Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane this summer as they search for a long-term defensive partner for captain Harry Maguire.
United have long been admirers of the French defender, who has proven his ability at the highest level for both club and country.
Varane has claimed an astonishing 18 trophies during his time with Los Blancos and became a World Cup winner with France in 2018.
The 27-year-old is out of contact next summer and the MEN understands that Madrid may be open to the idea of selling the defender in the upcoming transfer window to avoid the possibility of losing such a valued asset for nothing.
Convincing Varane to become part of the project being built by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be the job of the board, but the club have the added boost of Paul Pogba’s existing relationship with the player.
The pair have represented Les Blues together since 2013 and were part of the French side to reach the Euro 2016 final and respond by winning the World Cup two years later in Russia.
Pogba’s own future remains unclear but, should he remain at Old Trafford, he could prove to be a valuable asset in accelerating talks between both parties.
In 2019 it was Pogba who was linked with a move to the Spanish capital to link-up with his international team-mate at the Bernabeu Stadium.
At the time of these links, Varane was asked about the possibility of playing alongside Pogba at club level and delivered a complimentary response.
“I think we have a team. Pogba is a good player, I know him very well. For any team he would be fantastic,” he said.
“I trust my team-mates. If new players come, we’ll see. I trust my team-mates.”
United were ready to strike a deal for the former Lens defender after he helped his national side to glory in 2018, but a move never materialised.
The Red Devils are now back in the market for a central defender as the club looks to find the ideal partner for Maguire.
Both Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof have partnered the United captain, with neither player able to provide convincing evidence that there is no need for the club to strengthen in this area.
Varane has given very little away about his next steps and has previously spoken of the challenges of ‘planning for the future’.
“For the future, it’s difficult to plan. Real Madrid is a very, very big club with great players. What’s important is that everyone plays their part in the team,” he said during an interview in September.
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“When we won our titles, our Champions League, it was as a team, with 11 leaders on the pitch each time.”
The towering defender will turn 28 at the end of this month but still has the ability to perform on the biggest stage.
Varane is part of an elite list of players when it comes to one of the biggest prizes in the game.
Only 10 players in the history of football have bettered the four European Cups he has claimed in his career, providing a clear indication of the quality United would be investing in should they agree a deal with the La Liga giants this summer.