Manchester United fear Raphael Varane is using them to secure a bumper new deal at Real Madrid.
United have been chasing the French international for six weeks after Varane indicated he was interested in joining them.
But talks between the two clubs have stalled after United failed to agree a fee for the World Cup winner.
And United bosses are worried Varane has no intention of leaving Real, but has been using their interest in him to negotiate a new contract at the Bernabeu instead.
Varane knows Real don't want to lose him after seeing fellow centre back Sergio Ramos leave to join Paris Saint Germain on a free transfer this summer.
The defender is entering the final 12 months of his deal at the Bernabeu and will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club in January.
United have made him one of their top summer targets and want Varane to partner Harry Maguire in the heart of defence.
But Real are not prepared to let him leave on the cheap and want in excess of £60m for the 28-year-old.
United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward values Varane closer to £40m.
Woodward knows Varane will have little or no sell-on value when he comes to the end of his contract at Old Trafford and is willing to end negotiations instead of paying over the odds.
Varane joined Real from French side Lens in 2011 and has gone on to make over 350 appearances for the club. He has won 79 France caps and helped them win the World Cup in 2018.
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