Arsenal reportedly face Barclays Premier League competition in the race to sign French starlet Raphael Varane.
The Lens centre back has already won international recognition at U18 level for Les Bleus, and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is thought to be keen to add the player to his impressive youth ranks at the Emirates.
A defender who is also capable of playing in a holding midfield role, his rise to prominence in Ligue 1 has sparked interest in England, with Arsenal first to be linked with the player.
Manchester United weren't far behind, with Sir Alex Ferguson again monitoring the player amidst reports in Goal.com that they've attempted to sign the player in the past.
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has also been linked, but Ferguson and Wenger are reportedly ready to go head-to-head in the battle to sign the player.
Lens president Gervais Martel has played down the situation in France, but with the club in financial difficulties it appears they will accept a discount offer for the player.
Arsenal have a reputation for getting the best out of young talent in north London, with Wenger hoping that the Gunners' famed academy could play a part in a January move.
17-year-old Varane is also seen as a star of the future at Old Trafford, and Manchester United will again hope their history and success can prize the player to the club.
The Gunners' need for a defender means that the player could be propelled into first team action, should Arsenal complete a move for the player, whilst first team opportunities are likely to be more limited at Manchester United.
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