Raphael Varane
Chelsea have been heavily linked with Varane in recent times Getty Images/THOMAS SAMSON

Manchester United have approached Real Madrid to express their interest in a number of players including Chelsea target Raphael Varane, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, reports in Spain claim.

Louis van Gaal broke the bank last summer to overhaul his squad by spending more than £150m ($229m) with the additions of Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and on-loan Radamel Falcao.

But after a debut campaign of transition at Old Trafford and a fourth-place Premier League finish, the Dutch boss is expected to bolster his squad further during the summer transfer window in order to be able to fight for the title with Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.

The Premier League giants have already signed Dutch starlet Memphis Depay for around £25m while Robin van Persie recently revealed Van Gaal is set to spend upwards of £200m in the summer.

And Spanish newspaper AS has claimed that the Mancunians recently approached Real Madrid to enquire about the availability of the BBC (Bale, Benzema and Cristiano) and as well Varane.

The Spanish publication reports that Real Madrid immediately ruled out their sales but did suggest United may have more hope in the cases of French duo Benzema and Varane.

AS claims that Benzema's first intention would be to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu but the club have some doubts about him as Rafa Benitez looks ready to hand Cristiano Ronaldo the lone striker role after the Frenchman just scored 15 La Liga goals last campaign.

The paper also reports that even though Real Madrid want to retain Varane, the centre-back has told his agents to listen to offers as Sergio Ramos and Pepe are blocking his breakthrough at the Bernabeu and his "obsession is to always be in the starting line-up".

The French centre-back recently revealed he was close to joining Manchester United in 2011 and he has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea in recent times – as Jose Mourinho is looking for a long-term replacement for John Terry.

The Portuguese boss brought him to Real Madrid during his time in La Liga and has never hidden his favouritism for the player, claiming he is the best young defender in the world alongside Kurt Zouma.

"I think the French Football Federation should write a letter to me and thank me for the two best young defenders in the world in Varane and Zouma," Mourinho said earlier this season.