Friday, February 3, 2023

Could Manchester United Regret Their Decision Of Not Going All Out For This Real Madrid Star?

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Prasoon Sur
Prasoon is a law student who lives in the North East of India. Wildly innovative, football is more than a passion for him.

Manchester United had done their shopping quite early in the transfer window. When there was quality available, the Red Devils ensured that they left no stone unturned to rope them in. They manoeuvred proven names like Zlatan Ibrahimović, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba into their side to assemble themselves as a threatening force which looks miles better than Manchester United under the Dutch regime of Louis van Gaal. But amidst the drumbeats of joviality of the fans, has José Mourinho underemphasised a prized item in his summer transfer window checklist?

Mourinho had kept it no secret about his admiration for the 23-year-old central defender Raphaël Varane. The Portuguese’s affection towards Varane dates back to the days when he was in charge of Real Madrid. Signed from Lens, Varane was tagged as ‘the best young defender’ by Mourinho in the not-so-distant past.

When the ‘Special One’ took over the charge at Manchester United, Varane was believed to the foremost target under his radar to bring steel and resilience to the defence of his new venture and thus, the French centre-back was linked with a move away from Santiago Bernabéu. Mourinho even offered to double Varane’s wages had his move to the Old Trafford materialised, but the final nail in the coffin was never devised.

The youngster, despite being treated as a deputy to Real Madrid’s central defensive pairing of Pepe and Sergio Ramos, has decided to prolong his career at the most successful club in Europe and fight for his place under the managerial tutelage of Zinedine Zidane. Last season, he mustered 26 appearances in the Spanish La Liga during which he accumulated 1.5 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 4.7 clearances, 0.3 dribbles and 0.8 blocks every game on an average, which leaves a crystal clear evidence of why he is rated so highly in the football fraternity.

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Despite being treated as a secondary prospect, Varane shone more often than not under Zizou last season. Had Mourinho pushed really hard for Varane in the transfer market, Manchester United could have been a team with no loophole whatsoever. The former Chelsea boss could have achieved the final piece of the puzzle had he signed Varane from Real Madrid and use him in his first team plans, ahead of a rather erratic Daley Blind. Backed up by Phil Jones and Marcus Rojo, Varane could have partnered the club’s £30million acquisition Eric Bailly who has had a perfect start for his new club.

Now that the curtains of the summer transfer window are about to fall, it is unlikely to see the twenty-time English league champions rope Varane into their squad and particularly after the fact that Varane has made a strong start to his campaign as well, to ink his name in the playing eleven for Real Madrid.

With the attacking fluidity that the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool possess, it will be eye-catchy to see whether Mourinho’s defence would be haunted by their manager’s failure to bring Varane or if the Portuguese is going to have the last laugh.

Statistics Credits: WhoScored

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