Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has rejected a move to Manchester United in favour of staying with the Spanish club and fighting for his place in the starting XI under Zinedine Zidane. Jose Mourinho was keen to reunite with the French defender, whom he signed from French club Lens in 2011, but will have to turn his attention to other targets as he looks to further bolster his defence.
Spanish publication Marca reports that the France international has said 'no' to Mourinho about the prospect of joining his revolution at Old Trafford in favour of remaining with the 11-time Champions League winners. It is believed that a talk with the French manager is what swayed the defender to reject advances from the Red Devils.
Mourinho has already added Eric Bailly from Villarreal to his defensive ranks, but the Ivory Coast centre-back's lack of experience at the top level is a concern for the manager. This has prompted him to look for a more experienced defender with potential, thus zeroing in on Varane, who has been at Real for the last five years, but has failed to nail down a regular place in the starting XI.
The 20-time English champions along with two other Premier League clubs were reportedly interested in signing the defender, with the clubs said to have been ready to offer around €40m (£33.3m, $44.1m) to bring the defender to England.
The 23-year-old defender made 26 appearances in the La Liga last season with 23 of them coming from the start, while injury and the presence of Pepe, who is ahead of him in the pecking order as Sergio Ramos's preferred partner, saw him miss the rest of the games. Lack of regular game time prompted speculation of a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu, but Real quelled the rumours by handing him the famed number 5 shirt, which was previously donned by his idol and current manager Zidane.
Varane has been dogged by injuries in recent seasons, which also saw him miss the recently concluded European Championships in his homeland due to a hamstring strain. He has recovered from the knock and returned to pre-season training with the Spanish capital club and the Marca report claims that he is looking forward to reclaiming his place at the heart of the defence alongside Ramos.