Man United target Varane would be better long-term investment than Alderweireld

According to reports in The Mirror, Manchester United are lining up a summer move for Real Madrid’s £50m-rated centre-back Raphael Varane as Jose Mourinho looks to strengthen his side’s defensive options.

What’s the word, then?

Raphael Varane v Barcelona

Well, The Mirror says that Mourinho will bolster his central defence at the end of the season in order to try and help them become contenders to win both the Premier League title and the Champions League next season, and Varane is on his shortlist of targets.

The Mirror says that while Real are willing to sell the 24-year-old and are looking for £50m for the France international, the Red Devils’ Portuguese boss in only willing to pay £40m for a player he tried to sign when he was in charge of Chelsea in 2014.

The report adds that United centre-backs Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof are all facing uncertain futures at Old Trafford, with the club potentially looking to sign two new centre-backs this summer.

How has Varane done this season?

The Frenchman has been a regular for Real in both La Liga and the Champions League when he hasn’t been on the sidelines because of injury this term, making 33 appearances in all competitions.

Playing alongside captain Sergio Ramos, the 24-year-old has shown his defensive qualities, and according to WhoScored.com his main strengths are his passing, concentration and his ability to win aerial duels.

The centre-back has a passing accuracy of 91.2% across 27 outings in the Spanish top flight and in Europe, while he has won 43 of the 64 aerial duels he has faced, as well as making 118 clearances.

Would he be a good signing for United?

He certainly would be.

The 24-year-old has plenty of experience of playing at the top level for Real and for his country, while he is good on the ball – something that Mourinho is likely to demand from his centre-backs.

£50m for a central defender with his quality and experience and who still has plenty of time to improve could prove to be something of a bargain, and he could be better value for money in the long run than Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld – another reported target for the Red Devils.