Ratcliffe sets Man Utd on course for signing of amazing Varane replacement at almost half-price fee

Manchester United are considering a swoop for Sporting CP defender Ousmane Diomande after learning the discounted fee they may be able to buy him for this summer, according to a report.

Strengthening at centre-back will be a priority for Man Utd this summer now they know Raphael Varane has played his last game for the club. In fact, the only central defender they have without question marks over his future is Lisandro Martinez, whose injury issues mean he isn’t always available either.

They now appear to have joined the race for Diomande, who has been starring for Sporting for the past 18 months and won the Portuguese Primeira Liga with Ruben Amorim’s side this season.

Diomande has already been linked with Liverpool and Newcastle United, but an update from the Daily Expressindicates both clubs have cooled their interest – while Man Utd have increased theirs.

Co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has held talks with Diomande’s representatives in recent months and could keep up that contact to steer Man Utd into a strong position to win the race for the Ivorian’s signature.

Diomande has a £68m release clause in his contract, but remarkably, Man Utd might be able to secure a half-price deal.

The report claims Sporting have set their new asking price at £51m, but would ‘seriously consider’ an offer of £35m.

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