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Real Madrid have already identified Sevilla defender Jules Kounde as their preferred replacement for Raphael Varane should the centre-back join Manchester United this summer, according to reports in Spain.
It is believed United have set their sights on a move for Varane, 27, ahead of the summer transfer window, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keen to add another centre-back to his ranks.
Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly have struggled for consistency in recent seasons, meaning Solskjaer is still on the hunt for a new centre-back partner for captain Harry Maguire.
And Varane, whose Los Blancos contract expires in 2022, is believed to be at the top of his transfer wish-list.
The France international is said to have one eye on a new challenge next season, and Madrid’s rumoured price tag of £60million is well within United’s reach.
According to Marca, Zinedine Zidane is already preparing for Varane’s exit in the summer window, pinpointing Kounde, 22, as his No.1 target should he need to replace him.
Chelsea are also understood to be interested in the Sevilla ace, who is enjoying a superb season in La Liga.
He has made 41 appearances for Julen Lopetegui’s side this term, scoring four goals and helping them keep pace in the race for Champions League qualification.
Reports suggest there is now plenty of interest in Kounde, who is understood to have a £68million release clause in his contract.
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Villarreal ace Pau Torres is also on both Madrid and United’s radar, while the latter are said to be eyeing up a potential move for Leicester’s Wesley Fofana.
Varane is Solskjaer’s top target, nevertheless, and his contractual situation may force Madrid into cashing in on him while they still can this summer.
If he was to remain at the Bernabeu beyond the summer and fail to sign an extension, the £60million man would be able to negotiate a free move abroad at the turn of the year.
Varane has made over 350 appearances for Real since joining from Lens back in 2011, winning three Spanish titles and four Champions Leagues.
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