Manchester United made a £50million attempt to sign Real Madrid French defender Raphael Varane but the Laliga giants are holding out for £80m.
Man United remain in dialogue with Madrid and will seek a compromise over the fee, but are reluctant to meet the £80m valuation as Varane is out of contract next year.
Madrid are prepared to sell Varane, 28, to United and have already offset his possible departure by signing auxiliary centre-back David Alaba from Bayern Munich on a free transfer.
Sergio Ramos is leaving Madrid after 16 years but the club has debts of €901m and president Florentino Perez has stressed they are unable to finance any marquee moves this summer.
Several clubs are prepared to move for Varane only when his contract expires next year but Perez is intent on obtaining a fee.
Varane has spent a decade at the Bernabeu and was outstanding in France’s European Championship win against Germany on Tuesday.
With the added exposure of the Euros, Madrid are trying to maximise Varane’s resale value despite the short length of time remaining on his contract
Man United have earmarked Varane as their ideal defensive target to complement Harry Maguire and have a long-standing interest in the Frenchman since they attempted to sign Varane from Lens in 2011.
Varane is a boyhood United fan whose hero was Rio Ferdinand and earlier this year he rejected an enticing contract offer from Madrid that included the club captaincy.
He felt there was still a disparity between his salary offer and what his best-paid teammates earn.