Reports from Spain suggest that Manchester United are in the driving seat to sign Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane ahead of Liverpool this summer.
Mundo Deportivo first cited Jürgen Klopp’s side with interest in the French defender before Spanish outlet ABC claimed that he was keen on joining Liverpool and linking up with the best defender in the world, Virgil van Dijk.
Now, in a turn of events, AS claims that Varane actually wants to join the Reds’ biggest rivals, Manchester United. PSG are also named as a possible destination for Real Madrid’s 6'3? giant.
His contract with Real Madrid expires in June 2022 and he is considering moving on from the club that he has spent a decade with. His main objective is a major upgrade on his terms with Los Blancos which already see him net £140,000/week and failing that, he will move on from the Spanish capital.
Even though he’s only got one year left on his contract, Real Madrid reportedly value the 27-year-old at €70million.
This price tag essentially excludes Liverpool from the race to sign him as the £75million spent on Virgil van Dijk was a one-off deal for the Anfield outfit and only happened because Liverpool recouped £142million from the sale of Philippe Coutinho.
Unfortunately, when it comes to massive transfer fees, Fenway Sports Groupo run the Reds as a sell-to-buy business and will only ever spend what they generate from player sales.
With Ibrahima Konate’s move to Anfield a done deal, Klopp looks set to remedy his centre-back crisis which has seen Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Jöel Matip ruled out for the entire season while Ozan Kabak and Nathaniel Phillips have also had their own injuries this term.
Adding to that, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, who have both been forced to fill in between the full-backs, have also been injured at times.
The Frenchman arrives at Liverpool with high expectations. His pace and strength mean that he will have no issues with the physicality of the Premier League while he will need time to adjust to the speed of play in England.
This is one area that Ozan Kabak, who has been very good for the Reds at a difficult time for the club, has struggled with. The 21-year-old Schalke star was thrown into the deep end at Liverpool and hasn’t had the chance to form a decent relationship with any one centre back.
Konate will, hopefully, be able to find a lot more consistency at Liverpool next season when Virgil van Dijk is back fit. The importance of decent rest and a full pre-season this summer cannot be overstated.
With Konate arriving at Anfield in the summer, any links to Raphael Varane are tenuous at best.
The Real Madrid player is angling for a new contract and even if he can picture himself in the Premier League, a wage increase at the Santiago Bernabeu is all it would take to keep him in La Liga.