Real Madrid are believed to have accepted that Raphael Varane wants to leave the club this summer and are prepared to work towards a deal with willing buyers, with Manchester United appearing to be the four-time Champions League winner’s favoured destination.
Varane has now entered the final year of his Real contract and has decided that the time has come for a new challenge after spending 10 extremely successful years in Madrid.
His contract situation means that Real would lose him as a free agent next year if they refuse to sell this summer while the Frenchman still holds a transfer value.
Despite also being linked with Paris Saint-Germain, it was reported in late June that Varane is interested in joining Manchester United. What’s more, the Old Trafford club’s capture of Jadon Sancho, subject to a medical, now allows them to turn their full attention to signing Varane and talks are rumoured to have starting making significant progress in recent days.
Real wanted Varane to stay were reported to have offered him a new contract in May. But Los Blancos seemed to be fighting a losing battle and Spanish newspaper ABC now writes that the club is now working on the assumption that he will now be sold in the coming weeks.
The departure of Zinedine Zidane, who was so crucial to Varane’s move to Real at the age of 18 a decade ago, is thought to have been the final straw in the player’s decision to leave. He is said to have already had his eye on a Premier League switch for a number of years and is keen to be a United player by the time pre-season training is due to begin in a couple of weeks.
ABC claims that Varane’s camp has an agreement in place with United over personal terms that would be close to double the proposal in Madrid. Real were offering a net salary of €7m (£6m), but it is suggested United are willing to pay him €12m (£10.3m), equating to £200,000 per week.
That is said to be the salary he would have wanted in order to stay at Real, but it was never on the table once the club had agreed to pay new signing David Alaba that much.
What remains is for United to agree a transfer fee with Real. As things stand, the two clubs appear to be around €15m apart, with the former so far willing to pay €45m (£38.6m) but the latter holding out for €60m (£51.5m). It was recently reported that a figure of £43m might be enough.
As for Real, the expected departure of Varane in addition to the exit of Sergio Ramos, isn’t expected to push them into the market for a new centre-back. They have already signed the aforementioned Alaba and had been linked with Pau Torres and Jules Kounde, but will instead make one of Jesus Vallejo, Mario Gila or Victor Chust the fourth centre-back in the first-team squad.