Manchester United are in transfer talks with relegated French side Lens in a bid to sign defender Raphael Varane, The Guardian reported on Thursday.
Varane, 18, is regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in French football and has been watched by Sir Alex Ferguson's scouts on several occasions this season, the paper reported.
Formal negotiations between United and Lens have opened and a deal for the player, valued by the French club at around £10 million, was described as being very close, according to The Guardian.
A potential sticking point is Varane's concerns about playing opportunities at United, where Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are the first-choice centre-halves, with Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans waiting in the wings.
Varane's advisers had raised the suggestion of United immediately loaning the player out to French side Paris Saint-Germain, The Guardian reported.