United offer £9m for teenage Lens defender

 

Manchester United have bid €10.5m (£9.2m) for the French central defender Raphaël Varane, as they continue to set the pace in the summer transfer market. The 18-year-old Lens centre-half is seen as a player for the future but the price United are willing to pay reflects his reputation as one of the rising stars of the French game.

Lens' opening negotiating position was £10m and the major obstacle United appear to have is convincing Varane that he will get first-team opportunities at Old Trafford. He said only a week ago that he would "think carefully" about the proposition of a move to United. "What interests me is the playing time. I have to think twice and go to a club that will allow me to progress," added Varane, who suggested that "the most reasonable choice would be to stay in Ligue 1."

But despite the struggle of Gabriel Obertan, one of the stars of his age group at France's Clairefontaine academy, to make headway at United and a summer which has already seen Phil Jones added to the club's young central defensive contingent, Sir Alex Ferguson has gone to lengths to persuade Varane that he can learn the English game by signing now.

Paris Saint-Germain are among other contenders to sign the 6ft 3in defender, whose maturity in a Lens side which was relegated last season has been unmistakable to United scouts who have paid regular visits to Stade Félix Bollaert this spring. Reports in France also suggest that two major Spanish clubs, including Real Madrid, are interested.

Though there had been some prospect of an arrangement by which Varane would be sold and loaned back to Lens or another French club, a permanent move is now the Premier League champions' preference. Such a move to United would see Varane substantially increase his £10,500-a-month salary in northern France.

Just a year ago, Varane was playing for the Lens Under-19s but his goalscoring ability in the air and his capacity to also operate as a holding midfielder have increased his value.

The injury issues which have dogged Rio Ferdinand for two seasons, Jonny Evans' indifferent form in the last campaign and Wes Brown's likely departure to Sunderland means Ferguson needs to rebuild his central defence. The Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce, who will meet Brown, John O'Shea and Darron Gibson in the next few days, is as yet only confident of Gibson's desire to head to the Stadium of Light.

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'