Varane to Man Utd and 10 defenders who could transfer this month
In a busy summer transfer window so far, money has been spent across Europe, with Premier League teams in particular looking to heavily strengthen.
While traditionally a less expensive position, defenders now demand a high transfer fee, not on the level of attackers but close, making clever scouting more important.
Those are three of the biggest moves for defenders this summer, but over the next month, plenty more are expected. Some are close to being confirmed already, while some are simply rumours, but which 10 defenders could transfer this month?
Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
This move is all-but officially confirmed. Manchester United and Real Madrid have agreed on a transfer fee believed to be in the region of €50 million (£43m), including add-ons, and personal terms have also reportedly been finalised.
An official announcement is the only thing Man Utd fans are waiting for, and with Raphael Varane saying his goodbyes to Real Madrid on Instagram, he's ready for a new challenge after a decade in Spain.
The centre-back also recently uploaded a video of him juggling a ball in a garden somewhere in Manchester with the caption 'quarantine practice', suggesting he's found a home in England already.
A World Cup and four-time Champions League winner, Varane will add vital experience to United's backline, and could excel alongside Harry Maguire.
This move is expected to be done before Man Utd begin their Premier League campaign against Leeds on August 14.
Jules Kounde (Sevilla)
Another move that seems inevitable, Jules Kounde look set to leave Sevilla and join Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea.
This move seemed pretty much done a few weeks ago, but Chelsea's heavy pursuit of Romelu Lukaku seems to have put Kounde in the background.
However, it's understood that the Blues are ready to launch another bid for the French defender, one that Sevilla can't turn down
ABC Sevilla have even reported that the player is 'confident' that a deal will be agreed, and Kounde seems perfect for the right centre-back spot in Tuchel's 3-4-3.
After an impressive La Liga campaign, Kounde would add quality to Chelsea's side, and a move seems imminent.
Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
As a result of Chelsea's pursuit of Kounde, Kurt Zouma seems set to be the one to make way. With plenty of centre-back talent, including Ethan Ampadu and Trevoh Chalobah, who have returned from loan spells and are still at the club, Chelsea need to offload one player in this position.
Zouma has been sounded out as that option, and while Sevilla don't want him included in a deal for Kounde, and he's reportedly rejected an approach from West Ham, he could still leave this month.
A decent player, Zouma has never fully recovered from his horrific knee injury in 2016, and Tuchel appears willing to let him go.
His destination, however, is unknown right now, although Leicester could be a good bet.
Stefan de Vrij (Inter)
Inter are in a much-publicised financial crisis, with their Chinese owners Suning heavily in debt having been badly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Suning have already been forced to sell two of their biggest stars – with Achraf Hakimi joining PSG for up to €70m (£59m) and Romelu Lukaku set to join Chelsea for €115m (£97m).
And while the Italian media insists that no more top players will be sacrificed, there are serious fears that more will follow.
Stefan de Vrij is one such star, with reports that he is unhappy at seeing the team dismantled. Leicester, as mentioned, are in the market for a centre back after the long-term injury to Wesley Fofana and the Daily Express claims they are ready to make a bid for De Vrij.
The Dutchman is valued at €30-40m
Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina)
West Ham are understood to be in advanced talks to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic for €17m (£14m) and add-ons.
This will represent something of a coup for the Londoners, given the Serbian has been targeted by the likes of Manchester United and Juventus over the past year.
The 24-year-old centre-back, who can also play at right-back, will certainly leave the club this summer as he has made it clear that he will not renew his contract that expires next year.
Fiorentina have already found a replacement for him and are set to bring back Matija Nastasic from Schalke.
Phil Jones (Man Utd)
Phil Jones didn't make a single appearance for Man Utd last season, and played just eight times the season before. In short, he's not good enough for the club.
With Varane arriving, he'll be pushed further down the pecking order, and despite Axel Tuanzebe's loan move to Aston Villa, Man Utd would still surely sell the Englishman.
His contract expires in 2023, and while there's an option for another year, the club will want him gone. On fairly big wages, and at 29, this could be the last summer than United are able to get a decent transfer fee for him.
They'd surely accept around €5m (£4m) for him, but finding a suitor could prove tricky.
Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona)
According to recent reports from Marca, Samuel Umtiti is actually in the best shape of his Barcelona career as he has been impressing coaches with his workrate, strength and stamina in pre-season after having spent plenty of time out injures in the last few years.
The Frenchman is clearly trying hard to retain his place at Camp Nou, but the situation is certainly out of his hands as the club remains desperate to raise funds by any means possible.
Umtiti has been linked with Everton, but his wage demands, and the fact he wants to stay at Barcelona, have hindered that deal so far.
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
A few years ago, Kalidou Koulibaly was linked with moves of around €100m, and Napoli reportedly rejected an advance of €103m by Man Utd in 2018.
Sportsmole have reported that Man Utd had a €30m bid rejected by Napoli this window, but it shows that the Italian outfit should've sold the Senegal defender at his prime.
Now 30, the club won't be offered anything like €100m, but with his contract expiring in 2023, they may see this summer as the last year to get any major cash for their centre-back.
He reportedly wants to leave, and Everton have been linked.
Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham)
With the addition of Christian Romero from Atalanta, Davinson Sanchez has yet more competition at Tottenham, and while Toby Alderweireld has left the club this summer, Sanchez isn't likely to take his place.
The Colombian made 17 Premier League starts last year, and he doesn't look the same player he did during his final year at Ajax, or his first at Spurs.
Joe Rodon looks set to be handed a place in the starting XI alongside Romero, and the Welshman could even be dropped if the Lilywhites actively pursue Maxence Lacroix as has been rumoured this summer.
Either way, Sanchez won't be a starter, and they could recoup some of the Romero money by selling him.
Abdou Diallo (PSG)
Abdou Diallo actually started PSG's first game of the season against Troyes at left-back over the weekend, but his spot in the XI will likely be temporary until new signing Sergio Ramos can get up to speed, and Juan Bernat returns to fitness.
The French giants will naturally need backup for these spots but Diallo cost €32m from Borussia Dortmund back in 2019 so if they have an opportunity to recoup some of that back they will surely take it.
After all, Lionel Messi's wages will need paid for somehow.
But, his versatility to play left-back as well as centre-back could save him.