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Manchester United are on the hunt for a central-defensive partner for Harry Maguire in the summer transfer window, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to strengthen his back line. United have seen Maguire excel since his arrival from Leicester City two years ago, going on to earn the captaincy, but the England international has never had a regular partner who can thrive alongside him. That is something the club are looking to rectify and, as reported by MEN Sport, United have held talks with Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane ahead of a proposed transfer. The French World Cup winner will next month enter the final year of his contract with the Spanish side, who are keen to sell if he does not pen a new deal in order to prevent losing him on a free transfer next year.

However, United’s interest in Varane may have suffered a significant blow as Spanish outlet El Confidencial claim that Paris Saint-Germain are also in the running and the defender has selected the French side as his preferred next club, with some of the best payout online casinos in the uk also changing their odds on this transfer as a result. That would certainly be a problem for Solskjaer and his plans this summer but he is not the only player on United’s radar as they consider their defensive options in the market. Here, we have identified the alternatives to Varane who United could make a move for if they are pipped to the post in the hunt for their priority target.

Pau Torres

The highly rated Spain defender has caught the eye with his performances for Villarreal and Spain, and was part of the side that bested United in the Europa League final last month. Villarreal have opened the door for the 24-year-old to depart the club this summer, although the player himself has spoken about the opportunity to play in the Champions League next season – with qualification secured after the victory over United. Torres is near the top of United’s wish-list for the summer window and, if Varane is snapped up by PSG, he is likely to be the name that the club turn to. Fans of online casino gaming will have seen markets and odds on this transfer as well, with United getting a first-hand scouting report in the Europa League final.

Ben White

Brighton defender Ben White has seen his stock grow significantly in the past few seasons, excelling on loan with Leeds United in their promotion-winning campaign and catching the eye with Brighton in the Premier League upon his return to his parent club. Called up to the England squad for Euro 2020, replacing the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, interest in White could grow further, with recent reports indicating that Arsenal are among the clubs pushing to land his services.

Jules Kounde

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde has earned the attention of a number of top clubs across Europe and it has been suggested that Real Madrid may look to him as a replacement for Varane. The 22-year-old’s focus will be on France’s campaign at the European Championship, where he faces a battle to earn opportunities having only made his debut in the recent friendly against Wales.

It will be fascinating to track this story through the summer, with United definitely in the hunt for a top-class defensive option to add to Solskjaer’s options as he prepares to try and bring the Red Devils closer to the summit of the Premier League next season.