Manchester United attempted to launch a world record bid for Real Madrid defender Raphaël Varane this summer, but Los Blancos president Florentino Pérez wouldn’t budge over the player’s availability.
The Red Devils were frantically looking to sign a new centre back throughout the transfer window, with as many as 10 different names being proposed as potential targets.
However, talk of a potential move for Real Madrid’s Varane was unusually quiet, especially given manager José Mourinho’s admiration for the World Cup-winning defender.
Surprisingly, the Manchester Evening News has revealed that Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward actually met with Pérez in Miami during pre-season to discuss the transfer which would have broken the record transfer fee paid for a defender.
However, Real Madrid’s president insisted that Varane was part of the club’s long-term plan and that there would be no chance of the defender leaving the Santiago Bernabéu.
United then had to turn their attention elsewhere and were most notably linked with moves for Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire throughout the summer, as well as a last-gasp attempt to sign Atlético Madrid stalwart Diego Godín.
Manchester United were eventually forced to settle with the signings of Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant when the transfer window closed on August 9.
However, the performances of both Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelöf against Leicester City on Friday will go some way to cooling any nerves ahead of the new season.
Goals from Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw gave United all three points against the Foxes at Old Trafford, but manager Mourinho will be hoping for a more consistent performance when they face Brighton next week.