Chelsea make Raphael Varane their ‘No1 target’ as Man Utd switch focus

Thomas Tuchel has Real Madrid star Raphael Varane in his sights as he looks to bolster Chelsea’s options at centre back with Manchester United looking elsewhere.

The French World Cup winner, 27, is out of contract in 2022 but could leave Madrid this summer for a large fee with permission from President Florentino Perez.

Perez told El Larguero: "Varane? I’m happy of our team… if players don't want to stay at Madrid they can leave."

The potential transfer would cost a reported fee of £60 million and according to Bild’s Christian Falk, Varane is the “No.1 on the shortlist of Chelsea FC.”

Varane would provide competition for the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva, who is discussing a contract extension.

Manchester United were also interested in Varane’s signature to provide Harry Maguire with an experienced centre-half partner.

Departing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was reportedly prepared to offer £100million after the World Cup but Varane’s value was increased at the time.

Now it appears United are switching their attention on Sevilla’s younger 22-year-old Frenchman Joules Kounde.

Falk tweeted again dismissing that Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich was not a target for United and they were “more interested in Kounde.

Varane is more experienced internationally but Kounde has made 42 appearances and contributed four goals for Sevilla this season.

One element of Kounde that may put United off is a reported price tag of £68 million.

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