Raphael Varane has always been a defender with genuine world class potential but there have been too few performances like that on Tuesday night.
The Real Madrid centre-back is 25 years of age now but you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a few years younger than that. Varane hasn’t really developed as some had hoped in his six years at the Bernabau with naive mistakes and an over-reliance on speed still a big part of his game.
But, now and again, Varane produces a display like that against Belgium in the World Cup semi final to remind even his most vocal critics what all the fuss was about. The French centre-back was the best player on the pitch, repelling everything a star studded Belgian attack threw at them to protect a one goal lead given to Les Blues by Varane’s defensive partner Samuel Umtiti.
So just imagine if West Bromwich Albion had managed to pull off a deal to bring the former Lens wonderkid to The Hawthorns.
According to the son of former Baggies boss Steve Clarke, the four-time Champions League winner was oh-so close to sealing a short-term move to the Hawthorns. And the fans are understandably wondering what might have been.
My da was very close to getting Varane on loan at West Brom. Imagine— John Clarke (@johnclarke88) July 10, 2018
Yeah!— Sarcastic Git (@sarcasticgit1) July 10, 2018
Ended up with Brown Ideye & Anichebe!
Your dad will have been a meme— Fudge (@Danfudge) July 10, 2018
McDonoughed. Still, Lugano, eh...— Chris Lepkowski (@chrislepkowski) July 10, 2018
That'd have been quite the show. Varane and Lukaku in the same team. Hope your Dad's well. Happiest years of my #wba, watching that team get to 3rd at Christmas. Shame your Dad couldn't pick all of the targets.— London Baggies (@LondonBaggies) July 11, 2018
don’t tell us that :(— Nath (@NateOJackson) July 10, 2018