May 19, 2011

Transfer News: Manchester United poised to sign Lens star - Raphael Varane

Manchester United have emerged as front-runners to sign the 18-year-old Lens defender Raphael Varane following the French club's surprise relegation.

Varane is regarded as one of the outstanding young players in the French game after breaking into the Lens team at the age of 17. Now 18, he was unable to stop them being relegated from Ligue 1 but has been commended for his mature performances after establishing himself in the side over the past two months.

The clubs are likely to compromise on a deal which the French side believe should be worth £10 million, and that the player could be immediately loaned out to another side in France’s top flight next term in order to aid his development and harbour his concerns of a lack of first-team opportunities at Old Trafford.

The fact Varane can also play in a holding midfield role will also appeal to Ferguson, especially as Owen Hargreaves's contract at Old Trafford runs out next month.

Real Madrid are also pursuing Varane, but United's long-term interest has given the Premier League champions a head start over the Spanish club.