28/07/2021; 11:45 AM By : Steven D. Thompson
Manchester United just announced that the deal for Raphael Varane has gone through. All that remains is a medical exam and official signing. Real Madrid finally accepted Man Utd’s offer of £34 million, which could rise to £42 million with add-ons. The defender has agreed to sign up for a 4-year contract with the possibility of increasing the tenure by another year.
The Frenchman has made over 360 appearances for Real. And the club’s official statement reads, “Real Madrid wants to show its affection for Raphael Varane and his family and wish him good luck in the next stage of his professional career. The club is grateful for your exemplary professionalism during the last 10 seasons in which you donned our jersey”.
Varane will be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s third signing this season, following the arrival of Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton. Varane will undergo the compulsory quarantine on arrival, after which he’ll have the medical. United has been eyeing Varane for a while, and this latest acquisition will likely boost the team’s morale and performance in the coming seasons.
Sir Alex Fergusson and Jose Mourinho had bid for Varane during their times as Manager. However, the deal fell through each time. History could have repeated itself this time, too, had Real Madrid decided to increase Varane’s salary.
Varane began his professional journey through RC Lens at the age of 17. Although he wasn’t able to take the club to the finals, the defender’s performance caught the attention of some of Europe’s top clubs. Both United and Real Madrid had taken a keen interest in signing the youngster, and Real Madrid swept him up on a 6-year contract back in 2011.
And Varane went on to appear 15 times during the first season as Mourinho’s squad lifted the La Liga trophy. That was just the beginning of Varane’s trophy haul in the Spanish league. The Frenchman helped Carlo Ancelotti’s boys lift La Decima during 2013-14 and partnered with Sergio Ramos in the finals to decimate Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.
Varane played a key role in Zidane’s journey at Real Madrid as the latter replaced Rafael Benitez in 2016. The Los Blancos went on to secure three Champions League trophies between 2016 and 2018. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury benched Varane right before the 2016 derby.
Having battled several injuries that year, Varane’s strongest performance was during the 2017-18 season, as Real beat Liverpool for the Champions League title. His stunning performance that season placed him #7 on the list for Ballon d’Or rankings, which made him the highest placed defender on the list.
If the Varane deal goes through as projected, Manchester Utd will have spent over £400 million on recruitment since Solskjaer took over in March 2019. In comparison, City spent £298 million, Chelsea £262 million, Tottenham £255 million, Arsenal 243 million, and Liverpool £119 million during the same period.
United has been focusing on improving its defence since conceding 54 goals during Premier League 2018-19. Varane is the club’s fourth acquisition after Harry Maguire, Alex Telles, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Raphael Varane is the perfect addition to Old Trafford. The youngster has the history, temperament, and leadership skills to boost the squad’s defence. The Frenchman has been a part of three Champions League-winning squads and a World Cup-winning team. With a relatively younger squad headed into the next season, every little bit of experience counts for United.
With strong financial backing, ManU was able to exploit the transfer market this season. Since Old Trafford was Varane’s only realistic option once his contract expired at the end of this year. Financial issues have affected all the major Spanish clubs, and the only attractive offer came from Old Trafford.
The major question now is whether Manchester United is done signing players for the year. It all comes down to whether Paul Pogba wants to sit out as his contract expires. His other option is accepting a lower salary at PSG.
Varane could replace Axel Tuanzebe, who is likely to leave for Newcastle on loan. However, the future of Brandon Williams, Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, and Jesse Lingard also hang in the balance. While balancing Varane’s fitness will be the key for United, the fans will want to see the Frenchman in action along with Jadon Sancho, whose arrival from Borussia Dortmund was recently confirmed.