Man Utd behind in race to sign talented young French defender

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Manchester United seem set to miss out on promising Lens defender Raphael Varane as the obvious future for the 18-year-old seems to lie either in France or at Real Madrid.

Varane made big impressions after making his Lens first-team debut in November and went on to make more than 20 appearances, although he was unable to prevent them from being relegated from Ligue One.

This relegation has all but ensured that he will leave Lens, although where he will move to next remains a bit of a mystery.

Reports from Spain have suggested that Varane has made the decision to join Real Madrid and will make a €10m move once he has finished his exams.

Zinedine Zidane has reportedly also had a starring role in promoting the talents of the centre-back to Real Madrid.

However, other reports are stating that Varane is slightly reluctant to leave France at such a young age and wants to ensure that he gets first-team opportunities in order to aid his development, with Lille and Paris St Germain among the leading Ligue One options open to the defender.

He told Goal.com: “What I want is to go to the club that will make me progress the most.

“Playing time may be a reason. But that could be progression through a lot of playing time or within a different context, for example [playing under] more pressure in a bigger club.

“I do not prefer one team in particular. It will depend on the sporting project that I am offered; what role I play in the team and the ambition of the club.”

However, with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand liable to remain as Manchester United’s first choice defensive duo next season and Chris Smalling impressing when called upon in the past, Varane may struggle for playing time at Old Trafford.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.