It seems ridiculous to suggest it, but even after spending upwards of £130m on players this summer, there still appears to be one area that Jose Mourinho wants to improve in his Manchester United side.
The captured of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba have offered United strength in depth, solidity, experience, strength and creativity in equal measure, with Bailly in particular impressive in a red shirt in pre-season. Enough to suggest that a starting berth in the Portuguese’s side isn’t beyond him, even at this early stage of the 22-year old’s United career.
But according to reports, Mourinho isn’t quite done in the transfer market. Raphael Varane, Real Madrid’s centre back is on his former manager’s radar this summer. According to the article, Marca suggested that United launched a €40m bid to land the Frenchman in July, whilst AS have asserted Mourinho’s desire to seal a deal for the player in August.
A deal wouldn’t be out of the question: Varane is currently third choice between Sergio Ramos, Real’s captain and Pepe, both very experienced centre backs and legends at the Bernabeu, and should Mourinho offer a guarantee of first team football, Varane may be tempted to swap Madrid for Manchester this summer.
United’s central defence is currently in a state of flux, which could aid Varane’s decision. Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have been underutilised all summer, and both could realistically leave this month, whilst Chris Smalling has yet to feature under Mourinho since returning from his summer break. Eric Bailly and Daley Blind are likely to be the first choice pairing whilst Smalling gets up to speed, fitness wise, but with Bailly new to the Premier League, and Blind’s long-term future at the club under Mourinho in doubt, Mourinho’s first choice centre back pairing could look vastly different in a month’s time.
Varane may fancy being an understudy in the Spanish capital, of course, having made 23 starts in Deal’s La Liga campaign, but there’s clearly enough of an allure when it comes to United these days, if three of the continent’s greatest talents are happy to make the switch to Old Trafford. Varane would also be in good company, with three of his fellow countrymen and international colleagues already on United’s books in the shape of Pogba, Morgan Schneiderlin and Anthony Martial. With the end of the transfer window a little over two weeks away, we won’t have to wait long for the end to this mini-saga, either way.