Real Madrid Transfer News: Exit Rumours Surface Around Raphael Varane, Isco

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2015

Real Madrid's French defender Raphael Varane (L) is congratulated by his teammate Real Madrid's forward Isco after scoring during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) football match Cornella against Real Madrid at the Power8 stadium in Cornella-El Prat near Barcelona, on October 29, 2014.   AFP PHOTO/ JOSEP LAGO        (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

European clubs are circling the signatures of two of Real Madrid's most valued young stars, and reports insist Los Merengues will be pressed to keep hold of Raphael Varane and Isco next summer.

French newspaper Le 10 Sport claims Manchester United aren't concerned by the damage that may have been done by this summer's David De Gea saga and will launch a bid for Varane in 2016 (via talkSPORT).

Varane has started in each of Real Madrid's La Liga outings so far this season, partnering captain Sergio Ramos in central defence as Rafa Benitez has kept ageing defender Pepe on the bench.

United have long been linked as admirers of the France international, and football writer Rik Sharma provided quotes from Real president Florentino Perez earlier in September confirming the Reds were interested in his services this summer:

Rik Sharma @riksharma_

Florentino Perez: "No (€100m) offer for Bale arrived. But we know #mufc were interested in him, Varane and Benzema"

The start of this season suggests Pepe will sit as third choice in the team's pecking order this term, providing Varane with the opportunity he needs to establish himself as a certain starter. 

Speaking to French weekly Journal du Dimanche last week, Varane confirmed former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson chased his talents in 2011 before deciding on a move to Madrid from Lens, per Eurosport's Toby Keel:

"It was the craziest time of my life; I was revising for the baccalaureate, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing, I visited Real’s facilities, met Alex Ferguson," he said. 

It was the phone call from Zidane which convinced him to move from Lens to the Spanish giants - despite the fact that he cheekily told the World Cup-winning legend to call him back because he was busy revising.

"It was my insouciance which made me do that," he admitted.

"It actually made me strong: you have to be a bit cheeky to cope with that sort of pressure at such a young age. 

"But to be honest after that phone call my head was elsewhere. I didn't get any revision done at all."

United manager Louis van Gaal may not have an ace in the hole of Zidane's standards, but should there be any signs the centre-back is unsettled at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Premier League giants will be sure to pounce.

The Red Devils were also strongly linked with Varane's team-mate Sergio Ramos this summer prior to his contract extension, ultimately opting not to make any major signings in central defence.

Raphael Varane's Real Madrid Career (All Competitions)

Pepe will turn 33 before the 2015-16 campaign comes to a close, and it would be an odd move for Real to cash in on his natural successor, 22-year-old Varane, just when a veteran is bowing out of the team.

Real and United went to war this summer and each came away with resources completely intact, but the English titans will be hoping to strengthen next summer at Los Blancos' expense. 

France's defender Raphael Varane reacts after his victory against Portugal during the Euro 2016 friendly football match Portugal vs France at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on September 4, 2015. France won 0-1.  AFP PHOTO/ FRANCK FIFE        (Photo c
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Benitez must also be on guard in his effort to retain the talents of midfield magician Isco, who's reportedly attracting interest from Arsenal and Manchester City.

That's according to Spanish newspaper Sport, alleging Spain international Isco is frustrated at the capital outfit after struggling to carve out his place in the starting XI (via the Mirror's Liam Corless).

Sporting Gijon's midfielder Nacho Cases (L) vies with Real Madrid's midfielder Isco during the Spanish league football match Sporting Gijon vs Real Madrid CF at the El Molinon stadium in Gijon on August 23, 2015.   AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA        (Photo cr

The 23-year-old made 53 appearances last season but played the full 90 minutes in just 22 of those outings, and he has been played out of position for long stretches of his two-year tenure at the Bernabeu.

Isco nevertheless boasts a reputation as a potent playmaker in the Real Madrid squad, however, after WhoScored.com outlined just how reliable a creative asset he's been over recent years:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Isco: Only Lionel Messi (46) has made more accurate through balls in the last three La Liga seasons than Isco (25)

Any club looking to sign the maestro will have to negotiate their way around the €150 million release clause in his contract, which runs until 2018, according to Sport's Alejandro Alcazar.

Club supporters have a lot of affection for Isco, according to Real Madrid TV presenter Rhiannon Jones, despite the fact the likes of Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez may supersede him in Benitez's first-team lineup:

Rhiannon Jones @rhiannoncwjones

Benzema off to a standing ovation, Barnabeu crowd delighted to have the Frenchman back. Isco on to chants "Isco, Isco". #RealMadridBetis

Mateo Kovacic arrived at the Bernabeu this summer to provide more competition in creative midfield alongside the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Rodriguez, giving the likes of Arsenal and City hope of contending for his signature.

Isco be on the fringe of Real's starting XI at times, but Real will nonetheless value him as a superb option and not one they're likely to let leave their ranks easily.


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