Center-back confirmed Man United meeting amid ‘agreement belief’

Real Madrid star Raphael Varane is a top transfer target for Manchester United.

It was recently claimed by Spanish media that the La Liga giants believe the Red Devils have an agreement for the France international, who is currently competing at the European Championships.

And the player himself has already confirmed he held talks with the club about joining back in 2011, during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge.

Though Jadon Sancho is very much their priority at the current moment in time, Varane also features high on their transfer wishlist.

Unconvinced by Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the Real Madrid star can be the perfect partner at the back for Harry Maguire in the coming years.

And recent reports have suggested a move to United appears likely.

El Confidencial, over in Spain, said this week that Los Blancos believe Varane already has an agreement with the Red Devils about a blockbuster move to Old Trafford this summer.

So, with that the case, it’s time to revisit a phone call the 28-year-old had with United during Ferguson’s spell in charge.

The summer of 2011 was a mixed one for United, with Javier Hernandez arriving but duds such as Bebe and Gabriel Obertan also signing on the dotted line.

But it would have been a successful one had Ferguson landed Varane, who he’d earmarked as the ideal long-term replacement for Rio Ferdinand at the back.

In the end, that didn’t happen.

And Varane later explained his decision to join Real Madrid, revealing he’d met with Ferguson before Zinedine Zidane picked up the phone and enticed him to Spain instead.

“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 care-free 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, as you can imagine, was far from happy. He believed Varane would be his player, having seen him shine at Lens, before being left without a new defender.

“I hurtled down on the train from Euston to Lille to sign the young French defender Raphael Varane,” Ferguson wrote in his 2015 book Leading.

“David Gill was getting into the finer points of the contract with Lens when Zinedine Zidane got wind of this and somehow scooped him up for Real Madrid from under our noses.”

A decade on, however, and there’s growing optimism that Varane will become a United player.

They’re still looking at alternatives, with Villarreal’s Pau Torres one and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde another.

But the stars seem to be aligning and, once United conclude the Sancho deal, it’s likely they’ll focus all their efforts on getting Varane in the door.

That would certainly please former Red Devils star Nicky Butt, who recently claimed the defender would be the perfect fit for Solskjaer’s side as they look to end their four-year trophy drought.