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Manchester United linked with Real Madrid and France star

According to reports in France, Real Madrid's Raphaël Varane has been making encouraging noises in the direction of Old Trafford.

Clive Rose

Sceptical hats on, people. Sceptical hats well and truly pulled down to the ears. Sceptical scarf and mittens on too. Make sure you're wrapped up sceptically. Wouldn't want your extremities catching hopebite.

Now that you're prepared, here's the nonsense. According to French football daily Le10 Sport — no, us neither — Manchester United have not only been asking about France international Raphaël Varane, but they have been encouraged by the responses to said asking. The article itself doesn't appear to be online, but foreign-press-translation-service Sport Witness have helpfully summarised things here.

Apparently — yep, we know — Carlo Ancelotti is perfectly happy with his current centre-back pairing of Sergio Ramos and Pepe, a happiness that Varane feels may stand in the way of his development. Presumably he doesn't anticipate such concerns when up against Chris Smalling. And while Madrid are reluctant, a big fee for Varane would enable them to pursue Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez.



App— look, surely even a club as impulsive, hot-headed and downright daft as Real Madrid wouldn't sell Varane. He's as-close-to-certainly-as-football-ever-gets going to be one of the best centre-backs in the world in the next few years, he's pretty great now, and Pepe is thirty-one and, much as it pains us to say it, an idiot. A fun idiot for the neutral, but an idiot nonetheless.

It would be fantastic if they did, of course, since he's brilliant ... but no. Not even half a chance. And this Daily Mail article on roughly the same topic shouldn't be any encouragement. Agent talk. Just agent talk.