La Liga - United target opts for Real Madrid
Highly-rated Lens defender Raphael Varane, reportedly a Manchester United target, is set to join Real Madrid, the club's president has confirmed.
Gervais Martel of Lens, who were relegated from Ligue 1 this season, revealed the deal had been agreed for the 18-year-old at a meeting with his team's supporters.
Martel told the supporters that the club's survival in the top flight would have made no difference to whether Varane remained with Lens.
He did not confirm the transfer fee, though United had been linked with a £10m move for him earlier in the transfer window.
"Even if Lens had stayed in Ligue 1," Martel explained, "Raphael Varane would have left because he is a phenomenon!
"He is going to play for Real Madrid under the leadership of Jose Mourinho who he has already met, just as he has Zinedine Zidane (advisor to the Real president).
"Raphael is an exceptional boy. I am proud that he is going to don the Real colours!
"He has been pursued by Real for the past two months, he was welcomed by Real and he visited their facilities. He told me: 'I cannot turn down such an opportunity!'."
"Letting him leave is not about the money," Martel added.
"I must allow him to pursue his career. He is going to a club which has huge sporting ambitions. I am certain he will earn his place there."