Manchester United: The French stars that got away

Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane & Samir Nasri could have enjoyed long and successful careers at Old Trafford

Yashiema Love
Published 04/04/2013 10:42 by Yashiema Love, read by 3,741 people.

Manchester United and particularly Sir Alex Ferguson must be looking on with regret and sadness to see players that escaped from their grasp playing well for other clubs in areas that they need to improve.

The Red Devils had a horrible start to the season with four of their five recognised central defenders out injured and, as a result, endured a dreadful run of form defensively, conceding many goals and needing to outscore their opponents to win games.

The Old Trafford faithful has been demanding a physical, dominant presence in the midfield who can take control of games, dictate play and make strong tackles. Despite the presence of Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young the Red Devils have struggled in the wide areas even though they have scored lots of goals thanks largely to the brilliance of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.

These problems, however, could have been solved by Ferguson. He had players in his grasp that could have been the answer to the problems they faced during this current season. 

The following players are those that got away from Manchester United.

Raphael Varane | Real Madrid

Raphael Varane came to prominence in the French Ligue 1 during the 2010/11 season with Lens.

He was called up into the first-team by then manager Jean-Guy Wallemme and was included in the starting line-up against Montpellier in November 2010 due to injury to Alaedinne Yahia.

He had an impressive debut and received praise from his team-mates and manager. Varane never looked back from that game as he impressed to earn his place in the starting team. Varane was also used in the defensive midfield position in a few matches and did well which made many top European clubs being link with a move for him especially Manchester United. 

Varane would remain with Lens for the remainder of the season and managed to score two goals. In the weeks leading up to the summer transfer window of 2011, it was reported that Varane was in contact with United over a possible move. It was reported that he would move abroad as Lens was relegated to Ligue 2, with Old Trafford being his likely destination.

He was very close to moving to Old Trafford until Zinedine Zidane, who was the an advisor at Real Madrid, came in and convinced him to move to the Santiago Bernabeau.

Varane was signed by Madrid and since his arrival in the Spanish capital he has made great progress. In this current campaign, he has had some great performances, especially against Barcelona where he scored in the Copa del Ray. He has also featured in the Champions League and now seems to be the first-choice partner for Sergio Ramos in the centre of the Real Madrid defence ahead of Pepe. He has also earn his debut for the France national team in World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Spain where he once again showed his class and he looks set for stardom and a great career.

Paul Pogba | Juventus

Paul Pogba was seen as a top class midfielder by the Manchester United youth coaches after moving to the club in the summer of 2009.

Pogba worked his way up from the under-18s and reserve team very quickly and was always knocking on the door of the first-team at Old Trafford. He is a player with great belief in his ability and plays with such ease in the middle of the park. He showed great composure on the ball, excellent vision and very hard in the tackle. He is described as a player with tremendous talent and an unbelievable physique. He is compared to Patrick Vieira because of his long strides as he drives through the midfield and his dominant presence in the middle of the park.

However, Pogba found it difficult to break into the first-team despite Sir Alex praising him as a big talent with lots of potential. He was given his chance in the first team and did fairly well but was never given much of a run in the first team. He decided to look elsewhere and signed for Juventus in the summer of 2012 and has taken his opportunities with both hands.

He has been in great form whenever he plays and has scored some great goals so far in the first season for Juventus. Pogba has shown the quality that Sir Alex had spoken about in the past but there is no doubt that the 20-year-old still has a lot to offer and, with Andrea Pirlo as his senior partner, he is set to learn from one of the best midfielder in the world.

Pogba has received his reward for his performance this season at Juventus with his call up to France national team. He has played in two qualifiers against Georgia and Spain and showed that he is a top player and he has all the tools to become a great player as he develops.

Samir Nasri | Manchester City

Samir Nasri made a name for himself at Arsenal after he had a couple of great seasons scoring brilliant goals and showing signs of being a wonderful playmaker.

He showed lots of skills and craft in his game as he help Arsenal finish in the top three in the Premier League. He became unhappy at the Emirates Stadium due to not winning any silverware.

When he decided to leave Arsenal he was spoilt for choice as a host of top clubs were interested in him. Manchester United was rumoured to being a possible destination and was confirmed when Patrice Evra was recorded saying if Nasri wanted to win trophies then he knows where he should go.

It was reported that United had held talks with Arsene Wenger over the transfer of Nasri and they were given permission to speak with the player and his representatives. A deal was struck in principle with his representatives to move to Old Trafford but Sir Alex failed to see the deal through as Manchester City came in and captured his signature in the summer of 2011.

Nasri would go on to have a great 2011/12 season for Man City and help them win the Premier League title. Nasri may have felt at that point that he made the right decision despite the Arsenal fans and Harry Rednapp accusing him of moving to the Etihad Stadium because of money as City had reportedly offered a higher salary than United.


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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