Manchester United have advanced talks with Real Madrid over Raphael Varane and are close to sealing a £42.8m deal, though Chelsea have now made a late approach.
The France international is out of contract next summer and has decided to leave the club after a decade at Santiago Bernabeu, alerting a number of Europe’s biggest sides to his availability.
The Red devils moved to the front of the queue and are said to have agreed a five-year contract with the player’s representatives, allaying fears their interest was being used to secure a bumper new contract with Real Madrid.
A fee still needs to be agreed, though Real are under pressure to sell, and now Onda Cero claim discussions between the two teams have moved significantly over the past few hours.
An agreement is ‘imminent’ and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will pay a total package worth £42.8m, which represents something of a bargain for the player.
But, there might be a stumbling block in United’s pursuit after one of their Premier League rivals made a late approach for Varane.
According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Chelsea have registered their interest in the Frenchman at the eleventh hour – though he is still expected to sign for United.
Despite having a number of centre-backs at the club already, Tuchel is believed to be keen to bring in another central defender.
Marca’s report also claims Varane’s exit is now a virtual formality and, the Spanish side will not be signing any replacement.
Real Madrid already has Eder Militao, Nacho and David Alaba – who arrived on a free – at his disposal, while they are short on funds to sign more players and have more pressing needs elsewhere.