Raphael Varane Real Madrid
Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane is the latest transfer target for Manchester UnitedReuters

Manchester United could get the quality centre-back they were hoping for in the January transfer window after all, with reports suggesting Real Madrid Are willing to let go highly-rated defender Raphael Varane.

Varane has had to play second fiddle to Sergio Ramos and Pepe at Real Madrid, and the Daily Express, citing reports in Spain, say the European champions are ready to sell Varane for a mere €25 million (£19-20 million).

Manchester United will definitely be in the front of the queue if these reports turn out to be true, as Louis Van Gaal is desperate to sign a quality central defender during the January transfer window.

Several names have been bandied around as possible signings for Manchester United, including Mats Hummels and Nemanja Vidic, but Varane could be the pick of the bunch, considering he is still only 21 and is considered as one of the best young centre-backs in Europe.

Van Gaal is at his best when working with young players, and the Dutchman will, no doubt, welcome the addition of the France international, who has been heavily linked to Chelsea in the last couple of transfer windows owing to the fact that Jose Mourinho, the man who was at the helm when Varane signed for Real Madrid, is now the manager at Stamford Bridge and a huge fan of the player.

The only problem is that the asking price looks too good to be true. Varane only signed a new long-term contract with Real in September, which keeps him at the club until 2020, with the Spanish giants repeatedly saying the player was not for sale as Chelsea lurked.

It is difficult to envisage Real Madrid letting go of Varane, even if the player might be unhappy with his playing time, and that too for such a low price.

Considering the amount that has been spent on some players, £19 million is peanuts nowadays, and seriously low for someone of Varane's quality.

However, it remains to be seen if Real's hand will be forced by Varane, with the defender no doubt wanting to be the firm first choice at his club. Even if Real are forced to sell due to an unhappy player – and there is no evidence of that whatsoever – there is little chance of the Spanish club willing to sell Varane for around £19 million.

Manchester United, though, do have plenty of money still to spend in the transfer market, and if Van Gaal makes a tempting offer and convinces Varane that his future lies at Old Trafford, you never know, a deal might just happen, even if it remains extremely unlikely at best.