Saturday, 16th February, 2013

Raphael Varane could have been an Arsenal player, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has revealed.

The 19-year-old moved to Real Madrid from French side Lens in the summer of 2011, with Los Blancos pushing hard to take the defensive starlet to the Bernabeu.

Jose Mourinho and Zinedine Zidane pulled out all the stops to make Varane a Real Madrid player. But they were not his only admirers.

"At the time he was at Lens, we tried to sign him", Wenger told Eurosport.

Now Varane is making rapid progress at Real Madrid and was the standout performer in Los Blancos’ 1-1 Copa del Rey draw against Barcelona recently, also scoring his side’s goal.


And Wenger is pleased to see his countryman doing so well at the Spanish champions.

"Varane has shown Mourinho that he can count on him and I’m very happy with how he develops.

"Real took a risk by recruiting him at such a young age, but when you have talent, you can overcome anything.

"His next challenge will be to overcome the pressure of the media now that he is in the France team."

Mourinho gave Varane another vote of confidence in midweek, selecting the young Frenchman ahead of experienced stopper Pepe against Manchester United in the Champions League.

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