Manchester United will step up their pursuit of Barcelona star Gerard Pique if they miss out on Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, according to the Express.
The report has suggested that Chelsea could pip the Red Devils to the signature of Varane, which would lead to Louis van Gaal's side making a bid for their former player.
It appears, then, that the Manchester United boss would rather land Varane in the winter transfer window as he looks to improve his extremely vulnerable back-line. It's not surprising that he's interested in bringing the Frenchman to the club as he's recognised as one of the leading young defenders in world football.
Varane has struggled for opportunities at the Bernabeu of late, with Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti preferring the duo of Pepe and Sergio Ramos. But, with Chelsea seemingly determied to bring the youngster to Stamford Bridge, Van Gaal clearly has a huge battle on his hands in the pursuit.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho, of course, previously managed the Frenchman, and may swoop for him as he targets long term success at the club. With John Terry in the latter stages of his career, Varane would no doubt prove a top-class replacement for the Chelsea skipper.
- Manchester United keen to sign Gerard Pique
- Gerard Pique to make decision over future
- Chelsea and United told to pay £19m for Varane
If Varane does ultimately end up at Stamford Bridge, then it remains to be seen as to whether Manchester United will be able to bring Pique to the club. Pique has endured a tricky time of late at the Nou Camp after being dropped from the first team.
And if Pique did complete a move to the Theatre of Dreams, then he would be handed a key role under Louis van Gaal, with the Red Devils' defenders all struggling.
The likes of Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans have all failed to maintain their fitness throughout the campaign so far, and have been unable to prove themselves on a consistent basis for the club.
It certainly looks set to be a busy January period for Manchester United, and it appears that they could bring one of La Liga'a top defenders to the Premier League in the near future.