Manchester United: Varane speaks; shock striker move; change of mind on Blind?
After rumours spread that Jose Mourinho wanted to add one more superstar signing with the arrival of a central defender, Raphael Varane has spoken out to confirm that he will not be going anywhere this summer, and has rejected offers. The Express claim that Zinedine Zidane is a big factor in his decision to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu and the Frenchman has been reassured by his compatriot that he will have a greater role to play in the first team this season, as already demonstrated with his involvement in the European Super Cup.
It is a massive blow for Mourinho, who is a big admirer of the 23-year-old. It also makes it increasingly likely that the Red Devils will not be adding a central defender to their ranks this summer. Having already spent almost £150 million this summer, finances are not limitless, and Mourinho would rather wait to sign his top target rather than sign a cheap alternative, though Jose Fonte may be targeted as short term cover whilst Mourinho attempts to persuade his former player when he was in charge in Madrid.
There is also shocking speculation that United could make a surprise move for former City striker Mario Balotelli after he was seen out for a meal with Jose Mourinho, according to Metro. The Italian played under Mourinho at Inter Milan and holds him in very high regard, whilst Mourinho also views him as a misunderstood talent if past comments are anything to go by.
However, it seems highly unlikely that there is anything in these rumours. Whilst some claim that they were there to discuss a potential deal, it is far more likely that the unwanted Liverpool forward wanted some advice from the United boss. With just seven goals in 51 games across the last two seasons, substantial wages and a number of strikers already in the squad, it seems unlikely that he would be signed. That said, Mourinho has made stranger moves in the past, such as trying to take Helder Postiga to Real Madrid in 2011 and Balotelli shares an agent with Paul Pogba.
Manchester Evening News are also reporting that Mourinho is considering a change of mind over the future of Daley Blind. Previously thought to be on his way out, it was clear to see why. Whereas Mourinho favours strong, tall and physical defenders like Pepe and John Terry, Blind does not fall into that category at all. He also lacks the pace that others have had in Mourinho defences, like Varane.
That said, Blind is hugely versatile and can play almost anywhere across the back four and in midfield. On top of that, Blind has experience which is sorely lacking in the United defence, and most importantly, he can pass. At one stage in Sunday’s game against Bournemouth, Blind played a wayward long ball to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and angered Mourinho in doing so. Minutes later, he played the ball short to Ander Herrera instead and earned applause from Mourinho on the touchline, who said after the game that he had “played well”.
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