Manchester United are close to agreeing personal terms with Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane as they step up their efforts to secure his signature.
According to Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, sources have revealed that United are “not far off” from matching the 28-year-old’s demands and are hopeful of completing the deal over the next few weeks.
The report claims that negotiations between the two clubs have been “pretty slow”, but there is still confidence that Varane will join the Red Devils this summer.
Madrid are reportedly keen to sell the France international in this window as he’s entered the final year of his contract at the Bernabeu, and they have no intention of allowing him to leave for free in 12 months’ time.
The Los Blancos hierarchy were thought to be demanding an extortionate £80 million fee for Varane, although United chiefs are working on a far more modest approach given his contractual situation.
His potential arrival at Old Trafford would be seen as a significant step in Ole Gunnar Solkjaer’s plans to return the club to their former glory and would reflect the progress already made by the Norwegian tactician.
United recorded consecutive top-four finishes in the Premier League standings for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired last season, but a defeat at the hands of Villarreal in the Europa League final extending their lengthy trophy drought.
Adding a player of Varane’s calibre would help the 20-time English champions close the gap on local rivals Manchester City and propel them towards some silverware.
The likes of Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe have failed to showcase their long-term credentials as Harry Maguire’s partner in the heart of defence, meaning a new centre-back is high up on Solskjaer’s wish list this summer.
And it seems as though he’s close to securing his primary transfer target. News that a World Cup-winner defender with four Champions League crowns to his name is nearing a move to Manchester will have the club’s supporters buzzing and filled with optimism heading into the new season.