Manchester United ’s acquisition of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho is verging towards completion, but there are positive signs regarding the club’s pursuit of other summer targets.
Namely Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, whose club have ‘given permission’ for United to talk to their star ahead of what looks to be an increasingly plausible transfer.
Recent reports suggested Varane will be en route to Old Trafford as soon as his post- Euro 2020 holidays reach their conclusion, with Real now seemingly on board with a potential deal.
A Euro 2020 champion is also said to be on United’s radar in Giovanni Di Lorenzo, although the Napoli defender’s agent has simmered talk of a summer switch.
Daily Star Sport breaks down those rumours and more in the latest gossip round-up…
Green light for Varane talks
United have overcome a significant hurdle after being told they’re free to thrash out terms with long-term target Varane, with current employers Real coming to terms that they may lose their man.
The France international has entered the last 12 months of his contract at the Bernabeu, and Sky Sports reported negotiations over a fee are the next step provided they can come to terms with Varane.
The 28-year-old is expected to be available for a cut-price figure considering Real risk losing him for nothing if he sees out the final year of his deal in Madrid.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would be free to talk to the player once he enters the final six months of his contract in January, but it’s a higher priority to strengthen at centre-back right now.
Varane has spent 10 seasons with Los Blancos and lifted almost every trophy available during that spell, including four Champions League titles and three crowns in La Liga.
The 2018 World Cup winner was linked with United when he first left Lens to join Real in 2011, going on to make 360 appearances for the Spanish side while earning 79 caps for his country.
Di Lorenzo rumours ‘newspaper talk’
A string of impressive displays at Euro 2020 could prove hugely beneficial for Napoli star Di Lorenzo, although the player’s agent is doing his part to keep matters in perspective.
Recent rumours suggest Solskjaer is on the search for an alternative to right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Di Lorenzo could prove an unassuming bargain following this summer’s showcase.
But the player’s representative, Mario Giuffredi, moved to cool speculation during a recent appearance on Radio Marte’s ‘Si gonfia la rete’: “When (Napoli owner Aurelio) De Laurentiis spoke at the press conference explaining Napoli’s losses, and that all his players are transferable and that if appropriate proposals arrive, he will evaluate himself.
“If proposals arrive, we are obliged to take them into consideration, also in the interest of Napoli, because it is the president himself who has put everyone on the market. So, we feel we are on the market. If an appropriate proposal arrives it’ll be discussed and considered.
“But now they are newspaper talk, I read about Manchester United but now they are newspaper talk. If there were real things, we would be the ones to communicate it to Napoli. At the moment no request has arrived.”
Di Lorenzo deputised in place of the injured Alessandro Florenzi for most of Euro 2020, playing the full minutes in all but one of his six appearances as Italy lifted their second European title.
Napoli find themselves in a predicament after finishing fifth in Serie A last season, narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification on the last day of the season.
It’s possible the club may consider cashing in on some stars as part of a summer rebuild, although Di Lorenzo is locked into a contract that won’t expire until 2025.
United ‘leading chase’ for Small
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European suitors have been put on alert after highly touted Everton youngster Thierry Small failed to report for the first week of pre-season training.
The Athletic reported United are ‘monitoring the situation’ after Small, 16, was nowhere to be seen on July 5 when former Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez was due to officially begin his spell in charge.
Solihull-born Small—who is understood to have recently changed his agent—was still absent from Finch Farm on Monday (July 12), although the club are believed to have made contact.
Bayern Munich and Arsenal are each said to admire the left-back, who has reportedly grown disillusioned regarding his chances of a first-team breakthrough at Goodison Park.
Lucas Digne has shone in the position since joining Everton, while 20-year-old Niels Nkounkou is another promising option at Benitez’s disposal.
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