Manchester United aren’t short of centre-backs with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones at their disposal, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to take the side to the next level after finishing second in the Premier League and runners-up in the Europa League.
One player who has become available this summer is Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane and Sky Sports say United are closing in on a deal for the highly decorated player. His contract at the Santiago Bernabeu is up in 2022, so Real risk losing him for nothing next year as they’ve so far been unable to extend his deal.
Varane would be an outstanding acquisition. He joined Los Blancos from RC Lens in 2011 and has gone on to make 360 appearances in all competitions, scoring 17 goals with seven assists. He’s won four Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, one Copa Del Dey, three Spanish Super Cups, four FIFA Club World Cups, three UEFA Supercups and a World Cup (with France) – 19 trophies.
The 6ft 3in French international has played and won at the top level for club and country, so United would be strengthening their backline considerably by bringing in Varane. Maguire had an excellent 2020 European Championship with England, so he would be a formidable defensive partner.
The Sun said on Friday that United had agreed a deal worth £50m, so he’s considerably less than Maguire with a more enviable CV. It would be a statement of intent bringing the long-serving Real player to Old Trafford but may spell disaster for Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe’s hopes of getting minutes next season.
Lindelof and Bailly might be playing backup to a Maguire-Varane partnership, so Solskjaer will be too overstocked in the position to warrant keeping players yet to nail down a regular spot in recent seasons.