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Atlético eyeing move for Jonathan Varane — younger brother of Raphäel

The young central midfielder became an undisputed starter for Sporting at the end of last season.

Atlético Madrid are beefing up their defense this summer.

Los Rojiblancos have already virtually wrapped up deals for Javi Galán, César Azpilicueta, Çağlar Söyüncü and Santiago Mouriño. Now, they are turning their attention to the midfield — and the sibling of a longtime rival.

Sporting Gijón’s Jonathan Varane is now a target for Atlético, according to Diario As, as the club juggles a lot of different transfer possibilities — both incoming and outgoing.

Let’s start with the younger Varane. The 21-year-old came through the RC Lens academy, just like his brother, and recently signed a new contract with Sporting that will keep him at the club until 2027. He started Sporting’s last 10 games in 2022/23 and is seen as a work in progress for Atlético, whose B team recently got promoted into the third tier of Spanish football.

SD Eibar v Real Sporting - La Liga SmartBank Photo by Ion Alcoba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Varane has also recently been linked with moves to Feyenoord and Benfica, but any transfer business from Atlético — for this player or any other — will probably depend on departures from the first team squad.

Thomas Lemar has been linked with a move to Turkey, while both Saúl Ñíguez and Yannick Carrasco have been mentioned as targets for Saudi Arabian teams. João Félix is back from his loan deal at Chelsea FC with no obvious place in Diego Simeone’s plans, and Luis Enrique’s PSG are said to be monitoring his situation.

Meanwhile, Manchester City have been linked with Rodrigo Riquelme and Geoffrey Kondogbia has left Atlético to join Marseille — so sporting director Andrea Berta is looking at a number of potential replacements for the French midfielder. Varane could be one of them, but veteran targets to reinforce the position include Leandro Parades and Guido Rodriguez.