Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane is thought to have made the ‘firm’ decision that he won’t be signing a new contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the four-time Champions League winner most likely to return home to France this summer after spending a decade in Spain.
Varane joined Real at 18 way back in 2011 and has won everything there is to win with Los Blancos during that time. But his current contract is due to expire in 2022 and the club will have little choice but to sell him ahead of the new season otherwise they risk losing him as a free agent next year.
It was recently reported in Spain that Real presented an offer of a new contract to the Varane camp in May. That proposed deal was an improvement on the €5.5m net salary the 28-year-old currently earns, but arguably not as much as he could yet command if he moves elsewhere.
Perhaps more importantly, Varane is believed to be keen for a new challenge.
Real, who have already secured the summer signing of David Alaba on a free transfer from Bayern Munich but are also at risk of losing Sergio Ramos, were still waiting for an answer from the player one way of the other. But Varane appears to have made his final decision.
According to Spanish publication El Confidencial, Varane will not be accepting a contract offer from Real, even though club officials had ‘taken for granted’ that he would. The implications of potentially losing him without a transfer fee this time next year will force Real to put him up for sale.
Manchester United have been heavily linked with the 2018 World Cup winner as they continue their search for a top centre-back. But Varane himself is said to prefer a move back to France, where domestic giants Paris Saint-Germain are the only realistic option.
Real would hope to sell for a fee as close to €60m (£51.6m) as possible, but would be against accepting anything lower than €50m (£43m).
If Ramos, whose contract is up at the end of this month, also leaves Real this summer, the squad that returning coach Carlo Ancelotti is inheriting will be short defensively as Eder Militao, Nacho and the aforementioned Alaba would be the only recognised centre-backs.
To combat that, Real could target Sevilla’s rising star Jules Kounde. Another potential option for the club is Spain international Pau Torres of Villarreal.