Raphael Varane
Manchester United and Chelsea are fighting for VaraneGetty Images/THOMAS SAMSON

Manchester United are preparing a summer move for Real madrid defender Raphael Varane, according to Spanish publication El Mundo Deportivo.

The Red Devils are in the market for a defender and the Frenchman, who has been a real asset for Madrid over the years, is currently topping their list for a swoop in the summer. Varane, 21, has already made over 100 appearances for the club and has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world.

His presence will add some much needed stability to the United back line, which has been plagued with injuries this season. Louis van Gaal is willing to pay up to £30m for his services in spite of the player being contracted with Madrid until 2020.

Varane cut a frustrated figure earlier in the season, making the bench on most occasions, but is now playing regularly as key players in defence suffered injuries. Hence, manager Carlo Ancelotti would not want him to leave easily, as he has proved himself as an excellent player and a deserving back-up option for Pepe, who has struggled to keep fit this season.

Moreover, Chelsea are also interested in the defender and are likely to challenge United with a bid in the summer. Varane is being touted as a long term replacement for John Terry, who has entered his mid 30s and is unlikely to carry on for much longer.

United's chance to beat Chelsea for the signature of the defender depends on their ability to qualify for the Champions League, without which it would be impossible for them to lure the player out of Spain.

The Red Devils are currently fourth on the league table, a point behind Arsenal who are on third spot and thirteen points adrift of league toppers Chelsea.

United are likely to face massive competition from Liverpool who are going from strength to strength and have absolved their eight-point difference to only two, since losing to United at Old Trafford in December.