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Chelsea planning to hijack the Manchester United move for Raphael Varane as they made a late approach for the French defender who is believed to be valued at £42.8million by Real Madrid.

The World-Cup winning defender’s deal is set to expire in July 2022, and reports from Spain claim that he has decided to depart from Real Madrid after spending 10 years at Santiago Bernabeu, alerting a host of top European teams to his potential availability.

The 20-times English champions quickly established themselves as a favourite to secure the services of the French defender, and reports claims that they have agreed on a five-year deal with the defender’s entourage.

A fee still needs to be agreed between the two parties, though the Spanish giants are under pressure to sell their star player, and now Onda Cero reports that talks between Man Utd and Real Madrid have ramped up significantly over the past few hours.

An agreement is ‘imminent’, and the Red Devils will pay a total package worth around £42.8m, which would be a bargain for a quality player like Raphael Varane.

However, there might still be a stumbling block in United’s pursuit after Chelsea made a late move for Varane’s services.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Thomas Tuchel’s side have now shown their interest in the 28-year-old centre-back.

Despite having a plethora of defenders at the club already, Chelsea boss, Thomas Tuchel is believed to be keen to bring in a top-class centre-back ahead of the next season to pair him with experienced defender Thiago Silva.

Marca’s report also claims that Varane’s exit from Santiago Bernabeu is now a matter of time, and Spanish giants are unlikely to make new additions at the centre-back position.

New Signing David Alaba, Eder Militao and Nacho are the main defensive options for Carlo Ancelotti; reports claim that the Los Blancos are short on funds to bring in more players and have more pressing needs elsewhere.

The 20-times English champions are also looking to secure the services of Atletico Madrid and former Tottenham Hotspur right-back Kieran Trippier in addition to Varane, while Chelsea are putting most of their efforts to strengthen their offensive end by signing Erling Haaland from Dortmund.