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The one big stumbling block in Manchester United's pursuit of Raphael Varane

Manchester United in talks with Real Madird's Raphael Varane (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Manchester United in talks with Real Madird's Raphael Varane (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United are edging closer to a second marquee signing of the summer, with the Old Trafford club now increasingly hopeful of sealing a deal to sign Real Madrid and France centre-back Raphael Varane.

After United sealed a deal to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, the next big target was a top quality centre-back and four-time Champions League winner Varane has always been at the top of their wanted list.

The Sunday World revealed at the start of July that Old Trafford chiefs were increasingly confident of landing Varane and now talks have reached a point where they have been given permission to speak to the player.

While United have yet to agree a fee for Varane with Real Madrid, there is a willingness on the part of the player to move to Manchester and progress over a deal could move quickly in the coming days.

Agreeing personal terms with the 28-year-old Varane is not likely to be a major issue for United, but the big fact that could block their push to sign the player could come from Paris Saint-Germain.

The French side are also in talks with Varane's representatives over a possible deal and they have already shown their eagerness to splash the cash this summer with huge wage offers that have been handed to new signings Sergio Ramos and Guni Wijnaldum.

If United are in a bidding war with PSG for Varane, they may have a problem competing with the big-spending French side, but Old Trafford sources suggest the player is keen on a move to United.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville (Mike Egerton/PA)

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville (Mike Egerton/PA)

The move would be welcomed by United legend Gary Neville, who has been urging his former club to make a move for Varane this summer and has previously suggested he is one of the world's best defenders, ahead of Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk.

"I put Varane ahead of Van Dijk purely because this moment in time Varane’s won so many European Cups," Neville told Sky Sports. "He's an amazing player. You can’t separate their talent, but Varane's a brilliant player."

Real Madrid are still keen to hang on to Varane, but it appears he has set his heart on a move away from the club and is not planning to extend a contract that expires next summer.

Deals for Sancho and Varane would represent a fine summer of transfer business for United, who have stepped away from any plan to bid for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland after sealing the sevices of striker Edinson Cavani for another season.

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