Five players who could replace Varane at Real Madrid

Martin Macdonald
‘Opportunist’ Laporte criticised for imminent switch to Spain

Real Madrid are set to lose another iconic defender this summer, with Raphael Varane on the cusp of a transfer to Manchester United.

Los Blancos have already said goodbye to Sergio Ramos after 16 years, with the Spaniard joining Paris-Saint Germain following the expiration of his contract.

The Spaniard had been locked in talks with Real Madrid over a new deal for the majority of the season, but the club were unwilling to grant his wish of a two-year contract.

When he eventually accepted just one year, he was told it was too late.

Luckily for Real Madrid they already had a replacement lined up for Ramos as David Alaba has now joined from Bayern Munich on a free transfer.

However, they now face the task of replacing his team-mate Varane.

The Frenchman has won three La Liga titles, four Champions League titles and one Copa del Rey with the club, so whoever comes in will certainly have a lot to live up to.

Here are five names Real Madrid could target as replacements.

One caveat is that pretty much any money the club receives this summer will be going towards the acquisition of Kylian Mbappe.

But, they do need reinforcements at the back.

Who could replace Varane at Real Madrid?

Jules Kounde - FootballTransfers value: €72m

Real Madrid's primary transfer target to replace Varane had been Sevilla defender Jules Kounde.

The Frenchman emerged as one of the most impressive young defenders in Europe over the last couple of seasons, particularly in 2020/21 as he came into his own at the back for the Andalusian side.

As you can see from his FootballTransfers market value, he would likely the be the most expensive acquisition from the players on our list.

So, although he may be first choice in the central defender position, he is not top of the wishlist - Mbappe is.

However, on Tuesday, Chelsea became red-hot favourites to sign Kounde and are now in advanced talks to buy the defender. This could spark a triple-blow for Madrid after losing Ramos and Varane.

Pau Torres - FootballTransfers value: €44.2

Pau Torres would make sense as much as Kounde as he is familiar with the league and is also a superb defender in his own right, very much in the mould of a modern centre-back who likes to play out.

Manchester United previously wanted him before the Varane deal, but unfortunately for Madrid they could lose out on him too.

In Torres' own words, he is looking forward to playing in the Champions League for hometown club Villarreal.

Pau Torres

Pau Torres

"I have a contract at Villarreal, I just won the first title for the club [Europa League], we have qualified for the Champions League and it is something that excites me a lot," he told reporters.

"I live in my home town, very quiet, doing beautiful things and fighting for great things with my hometown team,"

Kalidou Koulibaly - FootballTransfers value: €36.1m

One of the most sought-after defenders of the last decade has been Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

Every single season the Senegal international is linked with an elite club, only for a transfer to fail to materalise as Napoli constantly remained first on their exorbitant asking price.

Now, however, Koulibaly could be available for around €30m as his contract only has two years remaining so next summer he would be available for even cheaper.

If Napoli want a significant transfer fee for their talismanic defender, the time to sell could be now.

He will also reportedly be asked to take a pay cut at Napoli soon as the club struggles financially during the pandemic.

Benoit Badiashile - FootballTransfers value: €23m

Benoit Badiashile has quietly emerged as one of the most impressive defenders in France.

This transfer would represent a long-term investment for Real Madrid though as he is only 20-years-old.

He is mightily impressive, but Varane and Ramos are 28 years old and 35 years old respectively so it would be a big ask to burden Badiashile as their replacement.

However, Varane himself signed for Real Madrid when he was two years younger at 18 and went on to do okay for himself.

So, Badiashile may be worth the risk.

Aymeric Laporte - FootballTransfers value: €48.7m

This transfer would have seemed impossible just a year ago as this time last year Aymeric Laporte was the undisputed number one defender at Manchester City.

Aymeric Laporte

Aymeric Laporte

However, the now-Spain international is currently third-choice at the Etihad as an initial injury kept him out of the team, which allowed John Stones to enjoy a career resurgence and strike up a fantastic partnership with new signing Ruben Dias.

Laporte moving to Madrid is probably the least likely deal on this list simply due to the money it would take to take him away from City, even if he is third choice.

However, if recent reports are to be believed, Man City are preparing a £260m double swoop for Harry Kane and Jack Grealish.

So, if that happens, any money coming in would certainly be welcomed.