Manchester United offered fresh hope in Raphael Varane pursuit
Ed Woodward could finally get the man he has long claimed to be chasing.
Raphael Varane to Manchester United: Part 3.
Back in 2018, the Manchester United executive vice chairman has been known to give the off press briefing, where he gives his side of transfer dealings and plans.
During an increasingly fractious relationship with José Mourinho, Woodward was on overdrive as he attempted to get his side of the story out in print, radio, TV, online and whatever you are having yourself.
When Mourinho threw a hissy fit over not being able to strengthen his defence with either Harry Maguire of Toby Alderweireld, it was let known to the press that United were willing to spend big - in the summer of 2018 - but only if the right target was available.
So, while there was digging around to see if Diego Godin fancied a spell in England, stories came out that Woodward would have pushed ahead with a £90m move for Real Madrid's Raphael Varane. The only problem, though, was that Varane was not going anywhere.
In fairness to Woodward, Mourinho had been allowed to bring in Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof but did not really fancy either. In the end, he had to settle for a summer 2018 haul of Fred, Diogo Dalot and goalkeeper Lee Grant. Harry Maguire did arrive in the summer of 2019 but Mourinho was well and truly chiselled off by then and was gone within four months.
Now, with his Real Madrid contract winding down again, Varane is back in the mixer.
First linked with United back in 2011, before he moved to Spain, the French defender's representatives are not so subtly letting it be known that their man would be open to a switch to the Premier League.
Manchester Evening News is reporting that Real are 'preparing to sell Varane' to United this summer.
The 27-year-old is out of contract at the end of June 2022 and Los Blancos may opt to cash in, rather than let him go for free next summer.
Of course, United will be wary about Real defenders being linked - or linking themselves - with the club after Sergio Ramos back in 2016. The Spanish defender was looking set for an Old Trafford switch when Real blinked first and offered him a much-improved deal.
Ramos was linked with United again, back in January, and Varane's people could be reading the tea leaves [ie: watching Lindelof & Maguire putzing about] and driving up his worth with this transfer speculation.