Manchester United will resume their frenzied hunt for a blockbuster defensive signing when the transfer window flings open in a month’s time.
Man Utd have been linked with just about every high-profile centre-back in the game today - Diego Godin, Toby Alderweireld, and Milan Skriniar to name a few - but now the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is reportedly set to do everything within his power to secure the signing of Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane.
The Evening Standard reports that Woodward is determined to make up for a lacklustre summer window by breaking the bank to land Varane, a rumoured contender for the 2018 Ballon d'Or, as United bid to shore up a wobbly defence that has leaked in an alarming 21 Premier League goals this season - four more goals than struggling Crystal Palace.
It would take a monumental bid in order to persuade Real Madrid to part with a prized player that has lifted four Champions League trophies in the last five years. Since switching Lens for Los Blancos in 2011 the Frenchman has also won a couple of La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey, two Supercopa de Espana, and a handful of other honours.
The 25-year-old, who won the World Cup in the summer, is reaching the peak years of his career and would be a dream addition at Old Trafford. He previously played under Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu, but if the two are to be reunited Woodward needs to splash out a world record fee for a defender - Virgil Van Dijk holds the record, £75million.
United head into Saturday’s clash away to the struggling Saints looking to end a run of two league games without a win. Three points on the south coast would see Mourinho’s men leapfrog Everton in 6th, for 24 hours at least.