Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward met Real Madrid president Florentino Perez in Miami this summer to discuss a transfer swoop for Raphael Varane this summer.
Old Trafford sources told CaughtOffside Woodward had breakfast with the Spanish giants’ chief, and was ready to spend big on the right defender for Jose Mourinho’s squad this summer, with Varane one of his targets.
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The France international has shone in his time at the Bernabeu and it seems Real were not prepared to sell, though CaughtOffside understands United were ready to pay as much as £100million for him.
This would have made Varane their club-record signing, and first to reach the £100m mark (as per BBC Sport), also making him the most expensive defender in football history (also per BBC Sport).
Varane seems a player who could have made a superb addition for United, who don’t exactly look convincing in their defensive options going into the new season.
The Red Devils only managed to bring in three signings this summer, with Fred the only one looking really likely to become a regular starter for Mourinho’s side.
CaughtOffside also understands United did not go in strongly for other rumoured defensive targets Toby Alderweireld or Jerome Boateng this summer.
United sources have told CaughtOffside that senior figures at the board baulked at Tottenham’s demands over Alderweireld, whilst being unconvinced by Boateng’s recent fitness record.
It is thought, however, that Woodward met with Perez to discuss a rather more ambitious deal for Varane as he would have been willing to fork out that bit extra for a top quality player at the peak of his powers.
Varane, 25, had a superb World Cup with France, coming away with a winners’ medal, and has won the Champions League four times as a Madrid player.
Despite playing under Mourinho earlier in his career, it may well be that he didn’t personally fancy a move to this current United outfit, which doesn’t look in the best shape going into the new season, though it is not entirely clear why the move did not progress beyond those talks.