Manchester United fell short in their third bid of the summer transfer window after Real Madrid rejected their £50 million offer for Raphael Varane. The Red Devils had also fallen short in their bids for forward Jadon Sancho and Kieran Trippier earlier in the month.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to strengthen his squad ahead of next season, and has identified the club's priority targets. Varane is seen as an ideal long-term partner for Harry Maguire in central defence after current partner Victor Lindelof failed to impress.
The Real defender has rejected the club's initial offer to extend his deal that expires in 2022. He is seeking out a new challenge and United are said to be among his many admirers. Paris Saint-Germain are also interested and is likely to be the Frenchman's preferred choice.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the La Liga giants are not keen on allowing Varane to leave on the cheap and will demand at least £80 million to sanction the transfer. United will continue holding talks with Los Blancos with the hope of reaching a compromise for the fee as they are unlikely to meet the asking price.
The Premier League club are aware that the France international is out of contract next year, and the longer Varane holds out on signing a new deal, the more desperate Real will be to cash-in. They will not want to lose the highly-rated defender on a free transfer next summer.
Real will acquire the services of David Alaba, who will join the club when his contract with Bayern Munich expires at the end of June. The Austrian is likely to be deployed at center-back and cover the void if Varane does depart the Santiago Bernabeu this summer.
However, The Times are reporting that Real could block Varane's move to United after Sergio Ramos' exit was confirmed on Thursday. The La Liga outfit have reopened talks with the French center-back over a new deal and are hopeful of retaining his services in the long term.
The Madrid-based club are losing their long-time skipper after they failed to agree a new deal and are now looking at the France international to lead the back line. Real president Florentino Perez was ready to cash-in on Varane, but is now having a rethink following the news of Ramos' exit.
Solskjaer will have to restart his search for a new partner for Maguire if Real manage to convince Varane to sign an extension in the coming weeks.