Manchester United are closing in on the £40 million capture of Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.
United made progress in their negotiations with Real at the weekend and are hopeful of concluding a deal for Varane by the end of the week.
Personal terms with Varane, 28, have been agreed and it is understood United have made progress on the fee, with Real initially wanting £50 million for the centre-back.
United felt that valuation was too high for a player out of contract next summer and look to have persuaded Real to agree to come down from that initial figure.
With Varane keen to join United and able to leave for nothing next summer, Real are under pressure to obtain a fee for him and have reluctantly agreed to lower their asking price.
According to United sources, significant “advances” have been made in their pursuit of Varane, who boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees as the perfect defensive partner for skipper Harry Maguire.
Fears that United were being used by Varane’s camp to engineer a bumper new contract with Real have been eased by the progress made at the weekend, after talks between all parties stalled.
United made a new centre-back their priority in the transfer window after securing the signing of Jadon Sancho, while a midfielder and a right-back are also wanted by Solskjaer, who accepts budget restrictions may mean he has to wait until next summer to recruit in those positions.
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Sancho and the rest of the players involved in international finals this summer are expected back in training before the final friendly of the summer, against Everton at Old Trafford on August 7.
Solskjaer said: “The English players and Fred, the ones who played Euros and Copa America and went all the way to the finals, needed a break as well. They’re back with us in about 10 days’ time.”
The Los Blancos no. 5 has picked up four Champions League titles during his time in Madrid, where Jose Mourinho gave him his debut.
Back in 2011, Sir Alex Ferguson was keen to sign the Lorient youngster but Real snapped the then 18-year-old up.
United’s Premier League season begins on Saturday, August 14 when they host Leeds United at Old Trafford.
Sancho and Varane could both mak their debuts in front of the Red Devils faithful.
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