West Brom had a transfer disaster back in 2012 when they failed to capture the signature of then Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.
Steve Clarke was in charge at the Hawthorns at the time, and it was his son John who revealed that the Baggies had a chance to sign the French international who has gone on to win many major honours, including the World Cup with his country in 2018.
At the time Clarke’s former colleague Jose Mourinho was in charge at the Bernabeu, and due to their relationship it made a transfer for Varane, who was just 19 at the time, possible.
If it had happened then who knows whether Varane would have gone on to be as successful as he has been. It’s likely that with all that talent he wouldn’t have stayed at the Hawthorns for a while but West Brom certainly would have been able to get a huge fee for him. He is now rated at a whopping £54m compared to the £9m he was valued at in August of 2012.
We will never know just how close the move actually was, but it’s safe to say that there was a real chance of it happening and therefore we think this makes it one of the club’s greatest transfer mistakes.
Now at 28-years of age, Varane is playing in the Premier League with Manchester United having eventually made the move to England last summer from Los Blancos.
The Frenchman has been described as “world-class” by journalist Andy Mitten but has been part of a United side that has been struggling massively this season. That said, he is yet to feature on a consistent basis missing 14 games in his first season with the Red Devils through injuries.
Despite this, when he has been called upon he’s impressed, and given his experience and quality he’s one of the few players that United need to be keeping hold off for next season.
There’s a possibility that he could face the Baggies next season if they draw United in the Carabao Cup or FA Cup, which could see him finally take to the turf at The Hawthorns, albeit for the away side.
Given where he has been it’s hard to picture him in a West Brom shirt, but rewind to 2012 and it was closer than you think.