Manchester United are 'hopeful and excited' over Raphael Varane's proposed move to Old Trafford, 90min has learned.
The French centre back has been a target of United's for a decade - they initially tried to sign Varane before he joined Real Madrid in 2011 - but now look in a better position than ever to finally bring the 28-year-old to Old Trafford.
United have spoken to Real Madrid and made it clear that they do not want to pay more than £50m for the player, who is out of contract in under 12 months time. Varane has so far refused to sign a new contract at Santiago Bernabeu and is exploring the possibility of a new challenge, with United at the front of the queue.
Varane has been told by Real that he can talk to possible suitors about a move, though he has not asked for a transfer. And while there is a possibility he could still agree a new deal to stay in the Spanish capital, talks are progressing with United.
90min has learned that United believe personal terms are all but agreed, and RMC Sport journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi also notes that a contractual agreement is close to being reached between United and the player.
There are still some doubts in the ranks that Varane will follow through with the move to England, but United have been this week been encouraged over his intentions by the Frenchman's representatives.
Sources close to the situation have told us things are being looked at more positively by United, saying: "There is still an element of caution, but talks with the player's representatives are going well and they are hopeful and excited in equal measure - they can see the finishing line."
United's worries over Varane were one reason why they is still in dialogue with Pau Torres of Villarreal – who the club’s scouts had previously highlighted as their top centre-half target this summer before the possibility of signing Varane emerged.