About 18 months ago Arsenal were tentatively linked with French defender Raphael Varane in one of those summer transfer window stories that reels off about 35 interested clubs from across Europe.
At 18-years-old and plying his trade with Lens he perfectly fit the profile of an Arsene Wenger signing, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising. Alas a bid was not forthcoming and instead Real Madrid pounced, sending Zinedine Zidane to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis with a suitcase packed with €10 million and the paperwork for a six-year contract. Unsurprisingly that was temptation enough for Varane who slung his hook to the Bernabeu in double-quick time.
Despite becoming the youngest foreign player to score for Madrid, he had a quiet first season making only 15 appearances as backup to the likes of Ramos and Pepe. This term however, he’s already played 19 times and further cemented his reputation with a goal and man-of-the-match performances against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.
So what does this mean for Arsenal? Well not much really, although it’s been enough to get Arsene sighing about what might have been…
Speaking to Eurosport for his blog, the boss lamented that the 6ft 3” stopper had slipped through his fingers.
“A quick word on my fellow Frenchman Raphael Varane, the 19-year-old Real Madrid defender who could face United: I’m happy for him because he’s carving out a role at one of the world’s best clubs, which is remarkable.
“Yet at the same time, when you are in charge of a club like Arsenal, you have to wonder why this player is not playing for us. He was at Lens, and we might well have caught him there.
“It was a risk for Real Madrid to sign him at his age, but when you have such a talent, you can overcome everything.
“He has benefited from suspension to Sergio Ramos and injury to Pepe, but nevertheless Mourinho has chosen him to step in.
“His next challenge is to manage the increased media exposure on him, especially now he is in the French national side.”
Arseblog News isn’t quite sure whether the boss is having a veiled pop at his scouts or whether he’s frustrated that we missed out on making some big bucks developing his talent and selling him on. Either way, Varane does indeed look like a top notch prospect. Here’s to him kicking Van Persie in the loins tonight. Repeatedly. With an axe.14,641 views