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Manchester United remain in discussions with Raphael Varane about a potential move to Old Trafford, Express Sport has learned. The France international is ready to leave Real Madrid behind after a glittering 10-year stint in Spain. But while confidence appears to be growing behind the scenes, no deal is imminent.
Manchester United have signed five centre-backs in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson walked away.
Louis van Gaal snapped up Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, Jose Mourinho lured Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof to the club while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer raided Leicester for Harry Maguire in 2019.
But, despite that, United aren’t content.
With Lindelof and Bailly inconsistent, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is determined to sign Varane.
In recent days, there’s been plenty said and written about a deal. Some have suggested it’s on the verge of completion.
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Manchester United remain in discussions for Raphael Varane transfer (Image: GETTY)
Manchester United are aiming to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Raphael Varane deal (Image: GETTY)
But United don’t want to pay anywhere near that, especially after splurging £73m on a deal for Jadon Sancho.
Yet while that’s the case, there’s still an expectancy that they’ll get this deal over the line and finally bring Varane to Old Trafford.
Should that happen, Ferguson would likely feel happy for Solskjaer.
The Scot tried to land Varane back in the summer transfer window of 2011, when Rio Ferdinand was entering the twilight years of his career.
But Ferguson ended up missing out, with Zinedine Zidane calling Varane in an attempt to make him move to Spain instead.
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Manchester United are working to conclude Raphael Varane signing but no deal is imminent (Image: GETTY)
The Scot later wrote about the deal in his autobiography, Leading, where he admitted he had hoped to make the 28-year-old a summer signing two years previously.
“I hurtled down on the train from Euston to Lille to sign the young French defender Raphael Varane,” he said.
“David Gill was getting into the finer points of the contract with Lens when Zinedine Zidane got wind of this and somehow scooped him up for Real Madrid from under our noses.”
And this was later confirmed by Varane himself.
“Zidane called me and I asked him to call me back because I was studying for my baccalaureate,” he said.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is aiming for Raphael Varane deal (Image: GETTY)
“It’s my relaxed nature that made me react like that. You have to be care-free to deal with so many things at such a young age.
“But to be honest, after that call, my mind was elsewhere; it was hard to focus on revising!
“It was the craziest period of my life: I was getting ready for the baccalaureate, the phone was ringing off the hook, I visited the Real facilities, I met Alex Ferguson… Just imagine, I was doing exams and signing autographs for other students.
“It was surreal. I’m really proud of having passed.”
Express Sport also understands United want Kieran Trippier, but won’t overspend when it comes to bringing the Atletico Madrid star to the club this summer.