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
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea