Manchester United fullback Guillermo Varela has revealed that he came close to leaving the club in Janaury, but a transfer away was stopped by manager Louis van Gaal.
The Uruguayan fullback was signed by David Moyes in the summer of 2013, but didn’t make a single appearance under the Scottish manager. Louis van Gaal then sent him to Real Madrid Castilla on loan where he made 33 appearances.
After returning from loan, he featured in just two Premier League games, and that too due to injuries to United’s first choice full-backs. The continued lack of opportunities forced him to seek a move away, and he approached his manager about an exit, but was told he would not be allowed to leave the club.
The uncapped Uruguayan was heavily linked with a move to Serie A’s Genoa.
“Because I saw I wouldn’t play, I would have few chances,” he told the Uruguayan radio station Sport 890.
“I spoke to the manager and he told me that no, I couldn’t go, because I was going to play.
“Everything happened so quickly that you don’t believe that you’re playing in the most important league in the world. I take it calmly, train and look forward.”
Varela spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, where he played in the club’s Castilla side under current first-team coach Zinedine Zidane.
“Zidane taught us to have respect, solidarity and to work hard,” he said.
“We had an excellent year and we learned several things.
“I’m happy for him and his new job at Real Madrid. I feel I improved quickly in the game.”
Since then, Varela has gone on to make four domestic appearances, also featuring in United’s 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg in the Champions League – and has now set his sights on becoming a regular at Old Trafford.
“It’s all about continuing to work hard and trying to win the confidence of the coach,” he told the club’s website.
“Firstly, I love being at Manchester United and I’d love to enjoy a long career here and win everything that comes in our path. Then, looking ahead, [for] the [Uruguayan] national team of course.”
Update ( 5th March 2016)
Louis van Gaal has confirmed an unamed Spanish club tried to sign Varela.
“In January, we took the risk for the left-back position that we didn’t buy,” he said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“We needed a left-back and we inquired about a lot of players. Some have said it now. It is always the agent that is doing that because it is interesting Man United is inquiring but we said OK, maybe Borthwick-Jackson and Varela can do the job.
“There was Spanish interest in Varela and we said no.”