Back in June 2013, Manchester United signed a young right-back whose arrival did not generate the excitement of the transfers that followed a year later.
But during David Moyes’ one and only summer in charge at Old Trafford, it was Guillermo Varela who signed for United, along with Marouane Fellaini and Saidy Janko.
Fellaini has gone on to become an integral part of United’s side under Moyes’ successor Louis van Gaal, while Janko has impressed for the club’s under-21s. But what of Varela, who turned out 19 times at that level, impressing regularly, before heading out on a surprise loan move to Real Madrid?
Since then the 22-year-old has been a regular for the Spanish club’s B team, featuring 33 times for Real Madrid Castilla, scoring one goal and providing one assist in the process.
Such has been his form that the club’s coach Zinedine Zidane hinted in comments published by the Daily Star back in December that a permanent move could be on the cards.
“I asked to see him and loved him,” the former France international said. “Luckily we could add him to Real Madrid, where I see a huge future.”
But with no permanent move to Real yet announced, could Varela have a second chance to impress at United this summer and beyond?
After all, he clearly has talent and United are in need of new right-backs with Rafael tipped for the exit and Antonio Valencia currently the only viable alternative.
When Varela first arrived at Old Trafford he was one of only a few Spanish speakers and South Americans at the club, but that has now changed, with David de Gea, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria all present.
United had a few promising young players out on loan this season who could still offer much to the club’s first-team, most notably Varela and Angelo Henriquez; but only time will tell if van Gaal is prepared to give them another chance to impress.