Manchester United target Raphael Varane is 'available' for transfer this summer, as Real Madrid look to cut heavy expenses from their wage bill - although a contract renewal cannot be ruled out just yet.
The coronavirus outbreak, which caused clubs to lose millions in revenue from ticket sales and general income, has left owners scrambling to sell their stars in a desperate attempt to cut costs and regain some control over their finances.
Los Blancos have avoided the grave consequences which face rivals Barcelona, who cannot register new players until they've offloaded €200m from their wage bill, but they remain in a perilous position.
Madrid are still hoping to reduce the numbers of players on their books this summer by selling some of their highest earners, and The Athletic has revealed that one of the stars they are considering selling this summer is Man Utd target Varane.
The 28-year-old has entered the final year of his Madrid contract, and he and his representatives are hoping to land one final mega-deal before he approaches the final years of his career. Real are evaluating whether it would be financially wise to offer Varane this amount of money, or whether to invest in youth, like they did with the Frenchman a decade ago.
Should they decide that it's time to move on and start afresh, then the door will be open for Man Utd to pounce. Varane is top of the Red Devils' list in their pursuit of a new defender, and they believe his profile is perfect to strengthen their current back line.
Man Utd are reported to have agreed personal terms with the defender, and they are confident a deal can be sealed. But a lot could change in the coming weeks, if Madrid were able to shift some of the other deadwood from their squad.
If Los Blancos did manage to sell both Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard for example, then they would have reduced their entire wage bill by a frightening 13%, perhaps opening the door for negotiations with Varane. However, given the cost of a transfer for either it is likely the pair will remain as manager Carlo Ancelotti looks to get the best out of them.
Elsewhere in his burgeoning 35-man squad, the Madrid club are also said to be open to offers for returning Arsenal loanees Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos, while Brahim Diaz and Takefusa Kubo will likely go out on loan again as Real look to raise funds and slash the wage bill.