Manchester United have contacted Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane's representatives in a bid to find out if the Les Blues starlet would consider a £20m switch to Old Trafford.
That is according to French publication Le10 Sport, who in an article mentioned by the Independent this afternoon claimed that Louis van Gaal has identified the 21-year-old as a potential superstar capable of filling the void left at Old Trafford by Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
Varane is reportedly open to joining United and is not concerned about a lack of Champions League football, but will only consider a move to either United or Chelsea if he fails to gain assurances over a star role moving forward with Real Madrid.
United have been alerted to Varane's potential availability because contract talks with Madrid have gone far from swimmingly.
Varane is committed to Madrid until 2017 and there is no rush to sign fresh terms, but regardless there is widespread interest in one of Europe's most exciting talents and a lack of urgency over negotiations has strengthened United's belief that they could beat Chelsea to a major addition before the transfer window closes.
Early talks held
Le10Sport believe that United have spoken to Varane' agent to see if he would welcome interest from the Premier League, receiving a response which far from dampened Red Devils resolve to stay in this transfer chase for the long haul.
Chelsea are undoubtedly also interested though and Blues boss Jose Mourinho is the man that first decided Varane deserved the chance to shine in Madrid's first-team as a teenager, a relationship he would love to rekindle when the evergreen John Terry is finally forced to hang up his boots.
Varane shone at the World Cup for France and already has more than 100 senior appearances to his name, which is exactly why United would love the opportunity to add the centre-back to their ranks if Madrid can quite surprisingly be persuaded to sell.
United fans will be perfectly within their rights to view this move as a long shot rather than a safer bet such as Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, but Van Gaal can be forgiven for making an approach for a genuine future superstar who could provide the long-term solution to central defensive woes at the Theatre of Dreams.