Man Utd: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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Manchester United are looking to sign a centre-back this summer and reports increasingly suggest Raphael Varane could be heading to Old Trafford. The France international could leave Real Madrid in the transfer window after spending a decade at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been no secret his desire to add a world-class defender to his squad to partner Harry Maguire at the heart of Man United’s defence.
Varane would certainly fit the bill, given his experience at both club and international level, winning four Champions League winners’ medals and with three LaLiga titles to his name.
The 28-year-old featured in France’s 1-0 win over Germany at Euro 2020 on Tuesday and his display would have impressed any onlooking United scouts.
Real may be reluctant to sell Varane after announcing the departure of captain Sergio Ramos on Wednesday after 16 years with the club.
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But the Frenchman is reportedly keen on taking on a new challenge having spent the majority of his senior career in Spain, moving from RC Lens in 2011.
Varane also has only a year left to run on his current deal, which gives United a huge boost in terms of negotiating a fee — especially if the centre-back decides not to renew — and he could be available for a cut-price fee.
A report from Marca suggests Varane’s uncertainty will not be affected by Ramos’ departure and that he is still weighing up his options.
Should he decide to stay, Sevilla defender Jules Kounde is thought to be one of their top targets, though his £61m release clause could complicate matters.
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Another name on Solskjaer’s shortlist is Juventus’ Cristian Romero, who has spent the season on loan at Atalanta and could join La Dea on a permanent deal, before being sold for a huge mark-up.
But it is believed Varane is United’s top target this summer and the Manchester Evening News report their first bid, thought to be £50m, has been knocked by back the Spanish giants.
If the Red Devils are able to acquire Varane, it seems likely that he will be able to retain his favoured shirt number.
Varane wears the No.4 jersey for both Los Blancos and his national team, having switched from No.5 last year with the Les Bleus.
While both numbers are currently occupied in Manchester, Varane could be swayed by the fact that Phil Jones may be convinced to give up his shirt number.
The centre-back hasn’t featured for United since January 2020 after struggling with injury problems and his future looks uncertain at the club.
United would surely look into vacating Varane’s preferred digit if it means sweetening the deal.
However, there are several other options available should the French star be willing to make a change and go with a new number.
The number 12 shirt is currently unoccupied and following Marcos Rojo’s departure, the No.16 shirt is open for new takers.
Varane could also take the place of Sergio Romero by wearing his former No.22 jersey or Tim Fosu-Mensah’s 24, after he left for Bayer Leverkusen in January.
Manchester United squad number list:
1. David de Gea
2. Victor Lindelof
3. Eric Bailly
4. Phil Jones
5. Harry Maguire
6. Paul Pogba
7. Edinson Cavani
8. Juan Mata
9. Anthony Martial
10. Marcus Rashford
11. Mason Greenwood
13. Lee Grant going
14. Jesse Lingard
15 Andreas Pereira
18. Bruno Fernandes
20. Diogo Dalot
21. Daniel James
23. Luke Shaw
26. Dean Henderson
27. Alex Telles
28. Facundo Pellestri
29. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
31. Nemanja Matic
33. Brandon Williams
34. Donny Van de Beek
37. James Garner
38. Axel Tuanzebe
39. Scott McTominay
43. Teden Mengi
44. Tahith Chong
46. Hannibal Mejbri
48. Will Fish
56. Anthony Elanga
74. Shola Shoretire
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