Man Utd think Raphael Varane ticks major box as Ed Woodward relationship details emerge | Football | Sport


Manchester United would welcome the experience of Raphael Varane, according to reports. The France international has become the club’s top transfer target, with Real Madrid expecting him to leave. And Ed Woodward’s positive relationship with Los Blancos counterpart Florentino Perez bodes well.

Manchester United want a centre-back this summer.

And, while links to Jules Kounde, Ben White and Ibrahim Konate have surfaced, Varane appears to be their preferred target.

United have seen Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire struggle for consistency at the back this term, while Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly’s fitness issues are concerning.

They’ve long admired Varane, who rejected the advances of Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2011.

And the Manchester Evening News say they’re particularly allured by the player’s experience, with the 27-year-old winning the lot across his career.

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The report also claims Woodward has a good relationship with Real president Perez.

That same relationship was threatened when David De Gea’s move to the Bernabeu fell through in 2015, with the La Liga giants accusing United of not filing the paperwork in time.

But things, it seems, have not soured behind the scenes.

And whether United’s longstanding pursuit of Varane, who Woodward was prepared to pay £100million for nearly three years ago, pays off remains to be seen.

Speaking in 2015, Varane revealed he came close to moving to Old Trafford in 2011 – only to choose Real after Zinedine Zidane got involved.

Zidane was assistant to Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu at the time.

And Varane said: “Zidane called me and I asked him to call me back because I was studying for my baccalaureate.

“It’s my relaxed nature that made me react like that. You have to be care-free to deal with so many things at such a young age.

“But to be honest, after that call, my mind was elsewhere; it was hard to focus on revising!

“It was the craziest period of my life: I was getting ready for the baccalaureate, the phone was ringing off the hook, I visited the Real facilities, I met Alex Ferguson… Just imagine, I was doing exams and signing autographs for other students.

“It was surreal. I’m really proud of having passed.”

Zidane recently insisted he wanted Varane to stay put.

“He is part of this club, and we were very lucky to be able to bring him to Madrid,” he said.

“He has a great career, he’s achieved a lot since he’s been here. Of course, he is non-transferable for the club, for the coach that I am, for people in general.

“That’s clear and unambiguous. Now we can’t stop people from talking. They’re not just talking about Varane, but about all the players, Real Madrid ones and others.

“But for Varane, my position is clear, and it’s the same as the club’s position.”

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