Raphael Varane is being linked with a reunion with his old Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
United could certainly do with an extra defender, Chris Smalling is currently injured whilst Daley Blind is continuing to have to fill in in a position that isn’t his best. New signing Eric Bailly seems to have fit in quickly though and Mourinho might think that if Varane comes in he’ll have a defensive partnership for years to come.
The young French defender has found it hard to break into the Madrid defence with Pepe and Sergio Ramos forming a strong partnership and there seems to be no sign of an imminent change to this – but would Real really want to let go of their third best defender?
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So in that spirit, here are SEVEN alternatives to Raphael Varane, just in case Madrid don’t want to sell…
Marquinhos is quick, reads the game well and has plenty of years ahead of him – he’s a very suitable alternative to Varane. The Brazilian defender finds himself behind Thiago Silva and bizarrely David Luiz in the pecking order in Paris and that must surely be frustrating. Meanwhile United have a ready made position for him and a certain former team-mate in Zlatan Ibrahimovic to help him settle in.
Sule is an imposing presence for Hoffenheim and is only going to get better. German fans are excited to see him come through to replace Mats Hummels eventually but you could argue he needs to join a bigger club to truly fulfil this huge potential. It’s a big step up from Hoffenheim to Manchester United but if Sule is going to be the national team’s next stalwart he must have the ability to cope.
AC Milan signed Romagnoli from AS Roma last Summer and the Italian instantly became a permanent fixture in the side. Milan are looking to return to their glory days and will fight desperately to keep the man they no doubt feel is the one to replicates the likes of Alessandro Nesta but if United come calling with the money they have, can they honestly be confident in keeping him?
The Netherlands have a lot of good young players coming through now as they look to avoid failing to qualify for a big international tournament as they did for Euro 2016. Riedewald will be a big part of that in the future and as is so often the case with the most talented Dutch based players, he’ll soon be on the move to a bigger league. United should really consider him as a possibility.
Vallejo is on the books at Real Madrid himself so Mourinho might feel if he doesn’t fight too hard for Varane he might be able to get the Spaniard in instead. Vallejo has shone in La Liga and will be knocking on the Spanish national team doors before long leaving Madrid and indeed United with a choice to make. Varane or Vallejo? The future of one may just impact the others.
It’s bittersweet for Rugani at Juventus. He has the opportunity to learn first hand from three of the best centre-halves in the game in Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci but because of this he also doesn’t get to play as often as his talent deserves. He’d certainly play at United though and with the experience he will have learnt in Turin, he’d be a big hit.
Laporte is arguably better than Varane so it’s anyone’s guess why none of Europe’s biggest clubs have snapped him up yet. The Frenchman plays for Athletic Bilbao and despite his young age he is a real leader at the back. A centre half pairing of him and Eric Bailly would not be bullied and if Mourinho wants to go for him, he has the financial backing to do so.