Jose Mourinho’s search for a central defender in the summer transfer window took him as far as his former club, Real Madrid.
And Raphael Varane, the Madrid defender, has revealed he rejected Mourinho’s overtures to stay under Zinedine Zidane in the Spanish capital.
“Of course it’s flattering. Manchester United are a very big club. But at the moment, when Madrid and I are in sync…there’s no question to ask,” Varane told Canal + in France. “I have always said I feel good in Madrid. It’s not easy to say ‘No’ to Jose Mourinho, but you have to weigh up the pros and the cons. We’re men, we have decisions to make and that’s how it is.”
Varane, regarded as one of the world’s top center backs aged 23, missed France’s UEFA Euro 2016 campaign with injury.
He has a contract until 2020, but such is his burgeoning talent that Mourinho went after him anyway, despite a huge price tag.
When the summer transfer window shut at the start of September, Mourinho was left with Bailly, who he will lose in January to the Africa Cup of Nations.
Varane would have added another layer of icing to what was a fine summer for Mourinho in the transfer market, but it was not to be. Expect United to return in the future, though, for a man who is quickly developing into one of contemporary football’s finest defenders.