Manchester United look pretty set for this season with their current squad as it stands. Considering that the English Football League Cup and the Europa League start next month, there will be plenty of opportunities for the likes of Memphis Depay, Chris Smalling, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian to impress and give Jose Mourinho something to think about, which is why the number of players that the Portuguese currently has at his disposal isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for the immediate future at least.
But if there’s one position that United could do with adding a bit more quality to this summer, then it’s at centre back. Whilst Eric Bailly has so far been a confident, powerful revelation since his move from Villareal, doubts over the futures of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have led United to look at a last potential signing, with Jose Fonte rumoured to be a target before the window shuts at the end of August.
One name that was thrown about earlier in the summer as a potential purchase was Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, with the Frenchman well known to Mourinho due to the manager’s time at the Spanish giants. It seems that any move for Varane is now out of the question, however, with the news via Cope that the player snubbed a move to United in order to stay at Real under the tutelage of countryman Zinedine Zidane. According to the report, Mourinho had called Varane about the move, but the defender has been persuaded to stay in the Spanish capital, at least for the time being.
It’s not a total shock: Varane is highly regarded at the Bernabeu, so any seal would have proven tricky, but given that the Frenchma currently sits behind Pod Blancos’ captain Sergio Ramos and Pepe in the defensive pecking order, one does wonder if Varane wouldn’t have been better off making the move to Old Trafford, especially because first team opportunities would surely have been easier to come by.
Daley Blind and Chris Smalling formed a relatively tight partnership in the centre of United’s defence last season, but Blind would surely have fallen down the pecking order if Varane would have joined, and his quality is such that he would have been pushing for a starting berth from the off. Still, Varane will surely continue to improve under Zidane’s watchful eye, and who knows? Maybe next summer, when United are back in the Champions League and should they decide to approach him again, Varane will reconsider.