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Manchester United And Arsenal Battle For French Teenage Defender

Old Trafford and Emirates clubs square off again for another talented young centre-back.

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Manchester United and Arsenal are both chasing Lens defender Raphael Varane and will battle to capture his signature.

The 18-year-old has produced some quality performances this season in Ligue 1 and has attracted the attention of Bayern Munich and Manchester City too.

But United and Arsenal lead the way to sign the France U21 international just like they did in the race to sign Phil Jones from Blackburn Rovers.

The Red Devils were victorious on that occasion but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will be doubly-determine to get his man this time around.

Varane is 6ft 3in, athletic and has considerable power and pace which is exactly the type of defender Wenger is looking for this summer.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hopes to add Varane to his new youthful defensive line-up alongside the Da Silva twins, Jones and Chris Smalling.

Lens are resigned to losing him but the player is reported to have asked for permission to wait until he has finished his baccalauréat exams before making a decision on his future.

The Ligue 1 side value him at £10million but Varane admits he could be loaned back to Lens next season if he opted to leave in the coming months.

“Early in the season, my objective was to play as often as possible with the reserves but finally I have played in Ligue 1,” Varane said.

“I am under contract at Lens until 2015. We are in talks with the chairman to find the best solution.

“Interest from Bayern or Man United? It is greatly flattering to hear those names. But I can’t dream. I have to think about it and join a club that will allow me to improve.”

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