Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has revealed that Raphael Varane was on the verge of making a move to Manchester United before he joined Real Madrid in 2011.
Comments relayed by The Special One in the Daily Mail appear to confirm that United’s apparent interest in Varane when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge was indeed genuine, with Mourinho claiming to have scuppered a deal when it was in its latter stages.
The quotes from the Blues manager, originally given to Telefoot, back up the theory that United were well in the race for the Madrid star, and give Red Devils fans even more reason to detest Mourinho.
Mourinho spoils the party
"I was on holiday and in Madrid. Zinedine Zidane arrived with a DVD and I thought 'That player, with two years' work with us, would be fantastic'," Mourinho said.
"Varane had one foot at Manchester United but Real Madrid are very strong and Rapha came to us."
After making the switch to the Santiago Bernabeu from RC Lens, Varane went on to become a surprisingly popular figure during his first season with Madrid. Rather than being restricted to the fringes of the club the youngster was afforded plenty of game-time by Mourinho, and quickly announced himself as one of the most gifted rising centre-backs in the game.
Since Mourinho’s return to Chelsea rumours have been rife that Varane would follow him, though they have since been cleared up by the Blues’ boss, who said that although he liked the player he would remain a Madrid star.
An exit from Carlo Ancelotti’s side hasn’t been completely ruled out however, with Pepe and Sergio Ramos still appearing to be the dominant partnership for Los Blancos.
Varane, who is now a fully fledged France international, is unlikely to be he happy with a bit-part role from the bench moving forward, and so Ancelotti may need to play him or risk losing him.
Given United’s current defensive woes it’s not too difficult to envisage a scenario wherein they, now under the command of Louis van Gaal, return to the charge with regards to their interest in Varane.
The 21-year-old, despite his tender years, has far more experience than any defender currently on the books at Old Trafford, and has plenty of time to adapt to the English game.
United’s chief executive Ed Woodward has already confirmed that the club have money to ensure that Van Gaal’s £150million spending spree continues in January, and though a move for Varane in the winter transfer window is unfeasible, a bid next summer should Champions League football be ascertained, shouldn’t be laughed off.
If he does become available, for whatever reason, then Mourinho is sure to change his stance that Varane can’t move to west London, with many seeing him as the ideal successor to John Terry.