Man Utd target Raphael Varane’s comments on Phil Jones as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes deal

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Manchester United have long admired Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane. And, this summer, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping to finally bring the France international to Old Trafford. The club first eyed the World Cup winner back in 2011 – but ultimately chose to land Phil Jones instead.

Manchester United wanted Varane back in 2011.

They’d seen the defender sparkle at Lens, establishing himself as one of the best young players in world football.

And United believed he’d be the perfect replacement for Rio Ferdinand, who was entering the twilight years of his career at the time.

In the end, however, the Red Devils missed out.

And Varane, speaking to L’Equipe in 2014, revealed the club ended up signing Phil Jones instead of making him their blockbuster arrival of the summer.

“Manchester United? They had just signed Phil Jones in my position,” he said when asked about how a move to Old Trafford failed to materialise.

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Varane also revealed he’d been on the radar of PSG but the project wasn’t ‘clear enough’ to entice him into moving to the Parc des Princes.

“The project [at PSG] wasn’t clear. The Qataris had only just arrived and it was all very vague,” he said.

“My first reaction when Real wanted to sign me was not, ‘Of course I will go’. I only made my decision when I knew that the coach wanted me to play in the first team.”

That isn’t the only thing Varane has had to say about United over the years.

In 2011, he revealed he talked with Sir Alex Ferguson about a potential switch – only for Zinedine Zidane to entice him to Real Madrid instead.


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“Zidane called me and I asked him to call me back because I was studying for my baccalaureate,” he said.

“It’s my relaxed nature that made me react like that. You have to be carefree to deal with so many things at such a young age.

“But to be honest, after that call, my mind was elsewhere; it was hard to focus on revising!

“It was the craziest period of my life: I was getting ready for the baccalaureate, the phone was ringing off the hook, I visited the Real facilities, I met Alex Ferguson… Just imagine, I was doing exams and signing autographs for other students.

“It was surreal. I’m really proud of having passed.”

Ferguson, somewhat understandably, wasn’t too happy.

“In 2011 I hurtled down to Lille,” he said in his autobiography.

“Zinedine Zidane got wind of this and somehow scooped him up for Real Madrid.”

In 2016, the Frenchman also admitted he was flattered by United’s interest – labelling them a ‘big club’.

“Of course it’s flattering,” he said. “Manchester United are a very big club.

“But from the moment when Madrid and I are in sync on my project, there’s no questions to ask yourself.

“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.”

Now, however, United are looking to get a deal for Varane over the line.

The four-time Champions League winner is ready to leave Real Madrid behind in order to pursue a new challenge elsewhere, having spent a decade in Spain.

And though Chelsea have been linked, United are favourites in the race to secure the player’s signature.

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