Raphaël Varane reveals his time at Manchester United could have started a decade ago

Winner of four UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid before a move to north west England, French defender Raphaël Varane has revealed that his time in Manchester could have arrived much earlier in his career. Now 29, the 2018 World Cup winner told the Daily Mail that he was courted by Sir Alex Ferguson as early as 2011, prior to his move to the Santiago Bernabéu.

In hindsight, Manchester United fans may share a hint of regret over the transfer that took ten years to materialise. The Mancunians were interested in the then-RC Lens player, but sought instead to endeavour with the development of new arrival Chris Smalling, and so negotiations for Varane fizzled out.

The young central defender would go on to establish himself as one of the most reliable pieces of the 2010s-era Real Madrid puzzle. In contrast, while the Red Devils would make a strong start to that decade, they fell to pieces after the retirement of Sir Alex in 2013. In the ten years since, Manchester United have seemed a shadow of their former selves, and have failed to win a single Premier League title. It is only now, under the leadership of Erik Ten Hag, that United look at all like the team they were when the great man retired.

As many could have predicted, Varane has become a central figure at the Manchester club since his arrival in 2021. Of the history between himself and the club, he said: “I’ve spoken to Sir Alex Ferguson since I arrived here, but not about what happened then. It’s a long story, and I didn’t want to say anything negative. I have too much respect for him.

Serial trophy winners under Sir Alex Ferguson, who managed the club from 1986 to 2013, the Reds have a chance to win their first piece of silverware since 2017 in this evening’s League Cup Final against Newcastle. In that time, Varane has won 11 trophies. Had he made the move to Old Trafford at a time when Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić were still on the roster, the past decade may have left a much sweeter taste for Manchester United fans.

GFFN | Brendan Cox


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