Manchester United have added Raphael Varane to their shortlist of centre-backs as the France international continues to struggle with life at Real Madrid, reports The Mirror.
Chelsea are also interested in the 21-year-old with the same report suggesting that Jose Mourinho sees him as a long-term replacement to his captain John Terry. The 34-year-old has been in fine form this season but won't be able to put up with the rigours of playing twice a week next term.
Varane was a revelation under the guidance of Mourinho, but has struggled to nail down a first team role under Carlo Ancelotti. Instead, Ancelotti has preferred Pepe and Sergio Ramos in the centre of his defence, limiting Varane's playing time.
Pepe has been out injured since mid-January, but it is believed the Portuguese star will return to the side immediately after recovering. He could be back in time for the first leg of their second round Champions League tie against Schalke 04 on Wednesday.
Not only that, but Ancelotti has instructed the club to open negotiations with Pepe over an extension on his current deal. For Varane, it is another frustrating blow for his future at the Bernabeu.
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Considering his options
He is starting to take a look at his options and Manchester United and Chelsea represent two very attractive propositions.
Louis van Gaal is after a top class centre-back to reinforce his defence while, as previously mentioned, Mourinho is look for Terry's successor.
Real Madrid are not keen on losing a top prospect and will demand a huge fee. The same report suggests a fee of £25 million would be enough to tempt Florentino Perez into a sale. However, the Real Madrid president has a reputation for insisting on a buy-back clause should he later regret the move.
Where should he go?
While the Real Madrid side may be too tough to get in to, the France international would waltz into the Old Trafford starting XI. Chris Smalling has failed to show himself in a good light this season while doubts continue over the fitness of Phil Jones.
Van Gaal has always looked short of one quality centre-back when using the controversial 3-5-2 formation and Varane could be offered pride of place. However, the chance to reunite with the man that helped bring him though at Real Madrid, Mourinho, may be his first choice.
Manchester United may be able to offer more money that Chelsea, but the project at Stamford Bridge is looking more attractive at this moment in time. Mourinho is looking to establish himself over the next decade while Manchester United's decision to hire Van Gaal still looks like a short-term plan.
Would Chelsea fans like to see Rapheal Varane replace John Terry? Is he the man to solve Manchester United's defensive woes? Give us your views in the comments box below!