Manchester United and Chelsea have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of defender Raphael Varane, with news that Bayern Munich have joined the race for the player.
The Daily Express cite reports in Spanish newspaper Marca when claiming that Pep Guardiola is keen on signing the £20million-rated French international, and has called on super-agent Jorge Mendes to begin negotiations with the talented centre back.
Real Madrid are reluctant to allow the 21-year-old to leave the club, the report claims, but a deal could be struck between the Spanish giants and an interested party in the summer transfer window.
With the Bundesliga champions pursuing the player, the chances of Varane arriving in the Premier League has taken a hit, despite the interest of two of the country’s biggest clubs.
Manchester United have experienced some serious difficulties at the back this season, with injuries proving to be the biggest problem impacting Louis van Gaal during his first season at Old Trafford.
The likes of Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett have been called upon by the Red Devils with worrying regularity, as Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo all spent time on the sidelines. The problems appear to be coming to an end though, with no defenders currently on the treatment table.
That said, Manchester United are still light in the position after allowing the experience of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand leave the club in the summer.
Others have been linked with the Red Devils, including Mats Hummels, but if Van Gaal wants Varane then he faces a serious battle to make the transfer happen.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is certainly aware of Varian’s ability, having worked with the player during his own time in charge of Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
His defence is also much more solid in comparison to United, with John Terry and Gary Cahill the regular partnership for the Blues and Kurt Zouma a rising star available off the bench at Stamford Bridge.
That said, questions have started to be asked of the first choice Chelsea pair after they conceded five on New Year’s Day, and another young, long-term replacement could be on Mourinho’s mind.
Top level experience
Varian certainly offers that, as well as experience at the very highest level already, but again Chelsea will need to be prepared to spend big and battle for the player.