It's fair to say that Real Madrid star Raphael Varane is one of the most talented young defenders in world football, but he has had to endure a topsy-turvy couple of years at the Bernabeu.
Varane, 23, made his debut for Real back in 2011 but has struggled to hold down a regular place in the team over the course of the last couple of years.
Indeed, with the duo of Pepe and Sergio Ramos still producing the goods at the back for Zinedine Zidane's side, it's not exactly surprising that Varane has found himself on the bench more often than not.
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Unsurprisingly, then, rumours have been rife for quite some time that he could depart the Spanish capital.
And it appears that one manager in particular has been hoping to bring him to the Premier League.
Jose made it clear
New Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was the man to hand Varane a prominent role at Real and, according to Marca, the Portuguese boss made it clear to the defender that he wanted to sign him.
The report claims, however, that Varane has decided to stay put with Real Madrid for at least another year.
It goes on to suggest that the France international seriously considered a move to Old Trafford before opting to stay with the current Champions League holders.
Perhaps, then, Mourinho will have to make-do with his current crop of central defenders at the Theatre of Dreams.
It's likely that the quartet of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and new signing Eric Bailly will battle it for the two centre-back positions next term.
Jones has struggled with injury over the last few seasons and hasn't developed as expected.
Smalling, meanwhile, enjoyed his most prominent campaign for the Red Devils last term and should once again be handed an important role at the heart of the side's defence, while Blind enjoyed a steady season alongside him.
It remains to be seen as to whether Mourinho sees the Dutchman as a defender, but the United boss did hand him a place in defence during the club's pre-season fixture against Wigan last weekend.
And then there's Bailly, who has all the attributes to become a top-class defender but might need some time to adapt to the English game.
United fans: does Mourinho still need to sign another defender? Have your say below!
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