Real Madrid: Varane coy when quizzed on future
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Real Madrid are willing to sell Raphael Varane to Manchester United for two reasons, according to reports. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is determined to sign the 28-year-old star this summer. And a move to Old Trafford looks to be on the cards, 10 years after Sir Alex Ferguson first tried.
Real Madrid beat Manchester United to the signing of Varane back in the summer transfer window of 2011.
The France international had been eyed by Ferguson to replace Rio Ferdinand but, in the end, a personal intervention from Zinedine Zidane saw him move to the Bernabeu instead.
A decade on, United are now confident of striking a deal.
And The Athletic claim Real are willing to cash in for two reasons now, instead of allowing the player to wind down his contract – which expires next term.
One is because of the renovations for the Bernabeu.
It’s believed the cost of the stadium is close to £693.3million in total, which means they need money from a potential sale and to get him off the books.
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And a second is due to the pandemic itself.
Real have missed out on millions as a result of fans not being allowed inside stadiums, as well as other revenue they generate from match days.
Television rights don’t generate the same income as they do in the Premier League, either, and Los Blancos are determined to get as much money as possible.
For United, that works well.
Sources close to the deal are said to be optimistic that United will get it over the line, bringing a 10-year saga to an end.
But there is still some wariness that they may be being used for a new contract, just like what Sergio Ramos did back in the summer of 2015.
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Should United sign Varane, he’d slot in alongside Harry Maguire at the back.
And that could convince the Red Devils into letting Eric Bailly go, with the Ivory Coast international a transfer target for former club Villarreal.
Speaking recently, former United star Wes Brown claimed just three signings were needed for his old side to close the gap on Manchester City in the race for the title.
“I’ve definitely seen an improvement at Manchester United in the past 12 months or so,” he said.
“On their day they can beat any team in the world, I just think they struggle to perform in the games where you’d expect them to win.
“Sometimes I think we were guilty of being a little bit short in midfield and the back-line has changed quite a lot throughout the season. Normally you have your two centre-halves set in stone and you build from there.
“Ole should be looking at three key areas where he can strengthen the first-team, and that’s with a new centre-back, a midfielder and a striker.
“The club needs to lose a few players as well, and I know that’s sometimes easier said than done, but they’ve got to make some room for new arrivals.
“They definitely need a strong midfielder to come in and play week-in and week-out.
“I thought the club managed alright last season up-front but I’d still say they need a big name up there – especially for when someone like Anthony Martial isn’t fit.
“Whenever one of our attackers got the slightest knock, we really struggled. You’re looking around at the bench and thinking ‘where’s our Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?’ That player who can make a difference. There just needs to be a bit of strength in depth in that area.
“I probably went to every home game last season, and I have to say it was really disappointing at times.
“Away from home the team were fantastic, like they were playing with no fear, but at home they seemed to really struggle.
“We never really got our rhythm going; but if that changes, then it’s a completely different story. You’d hope the return of fans has a positive impact in those results at Old Trafford next season.”
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