Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has declared that he will not be distracted by rumours of an impending move to Manchester United as he continues his preparation for the upcoming European Championships with France. The 28-year-old has been heavily linked with the Red Devils for a number of years but could finally be on the move this summer, with his contract in the Spanish capital set to expire at the end of next season.
The situation leaves Real with a dilemma over whether to cash in on their man over the coming months or risk losing him for nothing in a year’s time.
United are believed to be in the market for a new central defender, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said to be keen on bringing in the perfect long-term partner to suit Harry Maguire.
Victor Lindelof has impressed on occasion but lacks consistency, while Eric Bailly has struggled to prove his worth as a starter for the 20-time Premier League champions despite penning a new three-year contract last month.
A number of potential candidates have been linked with United in recent months, including Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Jules Kounde of Sevilla, but Varane is believed to be a long-term target and could be in line to make the switch this summer.
Real are in desperate need of additional funds to alleviate their financial problems, which have been amplified in recent months amid the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The Spanish giants are also looking to lead a reshuffle of their playing squad, with their interest in both PSG star Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund talisman Erling Haaland among the worst-kept secrets in football.
As a result, it seems as though Varane could be heading for the exit door ahead of next season, but the player himself is reluctant to dwell on speculation as he gears up to challenge for international silverware.
“This is not the time to talk about my future,” said the defender. “I am focused on the selection, on this Euro.
“It is normal and logical to ask the question, and for my part it is normal and logical to focus on the upcoming deadlines. We are all human beings. We can think about it.
“As for my personal case, I am focused on the objectives that we have in the France team, it is not a subject that I will discuss every day in my room at Clairefontaine.
“I am focused on my goal, and now is not the time to discuss it. If I have to talk about it, it will be directly with the people concerned.”
Although the addition of a new defender is expected to be Solskjaer’s main priority this summer, United appear to be in need of reinforcements across the pitch in order to stand the best chance of ending their four-year trophy drought next season.
The Red Devils have not claimed major honours since their Europa League triumph in 2017, and failed to win the same competition once again on Wednesday as they fell to Villarreal via an excruciatingly tense penalty shoot-out.
Former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves has since urged his former employers to consider the additions of Dortmund ace Jadon Sancho, West Ham United’s Declan Rice and PSG defender Marquinhos alongside Varane in order to redeem their title-winning qualities.
“I actually think they are three players off,” he told BT Sport after Wednesday’s defeat in Gdansk. “I think all they need is a centre-back, a central midfielder and a right winger.
“For me that’s all they need. Okay, it costs you a few quid but the fact of the matter is when you know exactly what you need it’s easier to go out and get it.
“Whoever it’s going to be, I think if they can do that this summer. Whether it’s Sancho, Varane, Marquinhos or Declan Rice, there’s targets there that you can look at who can make that United team better.”