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Chelsea 'jump ahead' of Man Utd in Varane transfer race with PSG also keen

Author: [email protected] (Darren Wells)
This post originally appeared on Mirror – Football

Chelsea have reportedly ‘jumped ahead’ of Manchester United in the race to sign Real Madrid star Raphael Varane.

The 28-year-old defender is set to enter the final 12 months of his contract at the Bernabeu this summer and is still debating his future.

Varane is a key player under boss Zinedine Zidane but Madrid could be forced to cash in if they cannot convinced him to pen fresh terms before the start of next season.

Paris Saint-Germain are also keen on the French World Cup winner, who is facing extra competition for his place at Madrid next season amid the expected arrival of Bayern Munich’s David Alaba on a free transfer.

Chelsea are keen on signing Raphael Varane ahead of Man Utd and PSG
Chelsea are keen on signing Raphael Varane ahead of Man Utd and PSG

According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Varane is not convinced his future lay at Madrid beyond the end of his current deal, with Chelsea now prepared to fork out £61million to land his services.

That could give the Blues the upper hand in the race over the likes of United, who are being careful with their spending and may see Varane as an expensive outlay they cannot stretch to in the current climate.

United are currently in the process of trying to tie down Eric Bailly to a new contract and the club are thought to be prioritising other areas of their squad to strengthen.

They could instead focus their efforts on signing Sergio Ramos, who is out of contract this summer.

PSG represent a significant threat to Chelsea’s hopes of landing Varane, who could welcome a return to his home country.

While Thomas Tuchel needs no convincing of Varane’s quality, he will be able to witness his talents at close quarters when the teams meet in the Champions League semi-final starting this week.

Varane missed both legs of Madrid’s quarter-final victory over Liverpool due to testing positive for coronavirus but has been back in action for their last two domestic fixtures.

Man Utd have three-man transfer shortlist as Ed Woodward keen to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The Red Devils have endured a mixed campaign having been knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage and once again fallen short in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

But while United trail rivals Manchester City by 14 points with the Citizens poised to clinch the title, they have improved by 12 points on their standing at this stage last season.

And United are highly likely to finish as high as second for just the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

But the club’s hierarchy know that silverware is an imminent requirement and that United particularly need to end their title drought, which is threatening to stretch to a decade.

In their hope to continue their domestic progress, United are set to trust Solskjaer with a new initial two-year contract that will extend his agreement at Old Trafford until at least 2024.

The Daily Star say executive vice-chairman Woodward fully backs Solskjaer and will hand the manager a new deal even if United fail to win the Europa League this season, in which they are massive favourites.

Woodward is convinced Solskjaer can get United back to winning major honours again although they have fallen in the quarter-final or semi-final of their past five cup competitions.

And the Star say that Woodward wants to once again back the Norwegian coach in the transfer market and that all of Haaland, Sancho and Varane are on their list of targets.

Borussia Dortmund duo Haaland and Sancho are two of the most exciting attackers in world football and have lit up the Bundesliga for the Yellow Blacks.

Since joining from Red Bull Salzburg a little over a year ago, Haaland has managed 49 goals and 11 assists in 49 matches while former Manchester City trainee Sancho’s return reads 46 goals and 60 assists in 130 outings.

Sancho turned 21 on Thursday (March 25) while Haaland remains 20 until late July, meaning the pair may have over a decade of quality to offer to their next club.

With Edinson Cavani not certain to sign a new contract in Manchester and the veteran Uruguayan also 34 years of age, Haaland is seen as the ideal No 9 to replace him.

United have leaked 32 goals in 29 games this season, 11 more than champions elect City, and need a tighter rearguard if they are to rack up the points to be the kings of England once more.

Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is liked by United but the Star suggest it is Real Madrid’s Varane who they are most keen on.

The Frenchman has long been regarded one of Europe’s finest centre-halves having been a key player for Los Blancos for nearly a decade.

Varane turns 28 next month but the 72-cap France international is out of contract in the summer of 2022 and could therefore be available for cheaper than his real market value this year.

Transfermarkt reckon Varane is worth over £60m and signing two or more of Haaland, Sancho and the towering centre-back will require a raft of big-money player sales.

David de Gea, Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard are among the players who could be sold to free up funds for United’s planned recruitment.

Mark Labbett keen to date smart woman like Carol Vorderman after losing whopping 10 stone

Mark Labbett, nicknamed The Beast on ITV quiz show The Chase, has proudly showed off his new physique as he revealed he now weighs 19 stone. The 55-year-old quizmaster said he is now comfortable in his own skin and is open to date again.
To get to his new size, he said he had been following a two-meal-a-day regime where he often cuts out dinner.

“I’m now under 20 stone, and I am really feeling the difference, as well as seeing it,” he revealed.

Mark went on to say he had also noticed he can “move so much better” after losing the “extra weight”.

The Chaser is now keen to go on a “mega shop” to buy smaller sized clothes in XL after previously being size XXXXL.

READ MORE: Michael Sheen ‘shoved away’ by Queen before returning OBE

“I have to be careful how I reply,” he added.

“I don’t want someone getting one of those huge obsessive crushes, so I try to let them down gently.”

Mark went on to say he doesn’t want to get into a relationship which may be “problematic” or “high-maintenance”.

The Chase star announced his split from Katie, who is 27 years his junior, back in August.