Jose Mourinho is reportedly in contact with Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane who he hopes to sign in the summer.

According to Don Balon, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been in constant talks with Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane. The Portuguese manager brought the French stalwart to the Bernabeu during his time at Real, and is understood to be a huge fan of his.

For most of his time spent at Real, Varane has played second fiddle to the first-choice pairing of Sergio Ramos and Pepe. He’s been efficient while replacing either of the two if they are injured, but has yet to make the role his own at the club.

This season, Pepe’s injury has coincided with Varane’s which has seen manager Zinedine Zidane opt for Nacho to start at the heart of defence with Ramos. However, with Pepe likely to leave the club at the end of the season, Varane may become a regular in the 2017/18 campaign.

In case Mourinho decides to lure the Frenchman, he will be bringing defensive stability for the Red Devils. Numerous injuries have shattered United’s title hopes this season, and have forced Mourinho to field makeshift options for a number of matches.

Real Madrid's French defender Raphael Varane celebrates after scoring during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) round of 16 first leg football match Real Madrid CF vs Sevilla FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 4, 2017. / AFP / GERARD JULIEN (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s French defender Raphael Varane celebrates after scoring during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) round of 16 first leg football match Real Madrid CF vs Sevilla FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 4, 2017. / AFP / GERARD JULIEN (Photo Courtesy: GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Summer signing Eric Bailly looked solid at the start of the season, but an injury few months later saw the likes of Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind step up. While the former has had his moments of brilliance, his physical streak has often seen him flirt with the possibility of getting sent off.

The lack of speed is a glaring weakness in the latter’s gameplay who was signed for his versatility. After playing as a wing-back for Netherlands in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, very few thought that he would struggle to cope in the Premier League.

He has often been caught ball-watching and swaying away from his position, leaving the back line exposed. The Dutchman has also been far from a decent ball winner this term, and could be shown the door come the end of the season.

Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have impressed to an extent, but their varied injury worries have done them no favours. Jose Mourinho has complained about the unavailability of defenders on several occasions, and it may be time for him to rope in world-class talent in the summer.

Varane fits the bill for the Manchester outfit, as he is an accomplished defender despite being only 24 years of age. He can be part of the United setup for the next decade if used correctly, and may be even go on to become one of the greats to don the Red of Manchester United.

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