Manchester United’s transfer plans have suffered a major blow after reports revealed Paris Saint-Germain have entered the race for Raphael Varane’s signature.
What’s the story?
The Red Devils have been strongly linked with a move for the 28-year-old defender in recent weeks as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempts to bolster his first-team squad.
But acquiring Varane’s signature this summer may have become significantly harder for United after PSG made contact with the France international’s representatives, according to Foot Mercato.
Solskjaer will be gutted
After 10 trophy-laden years at the Bernabeu, Varane’s time in the Spanish capital appears to be drawing to a close after he failed to agree to terms on a new contract.
With his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2022, Madrid are keen to sell the World Cup winner centre-back over the coming months while they can still demand a sizeable fee.
Reports over the last few days claimed that the Los Blancos hierarchy had dropped their asking price from £60m to £43m in order to attract more interest in the player, and it appears as though that strategy has worked.
His former boss, Zinedine Zidane raved: “He’s won a lot and shown his ability to be a leader, help others and show what he’s capable of doing out on the pitch. He deserves the two goals in the last game and the character to give us the win.”
And, former United man Gary Neville added: “That’s why I put Raphael Varane ahead of Virgil van Dijk. He’s won so many European Cups, a World Cup, he’s an amazing player.”
It’s no surprise, therefore, that his apparent availability is attracting the attention of several top clubs across the continent, but news of PSG’s interest will surely leave Solskjaer feeling gutted.
The Old Trafford outfit finished a dozen points behind champions Manchester City in the fight for the Premier League title last season, and centre-back has been a problem position for United for some time now.
Although bringing in Varane to partner Harry Maguire at the heart of defence wouldn’t automatically solve the issues at the back for the 20-time English champions, his arrival would be seen as a significant coup and statement of intent from the club’s hierarchy.
With their domestic rivals already making progress in the transfer market this summer, United will need to strengthen in order to challenge for major honours next term, but their hopes of bringing in Varane has just suffered a sizeable setback.