Raphael Varane looks set to take Manchester United by storm.
The Red Devils have reached a deal to sign the Real Madrid defender for around £ 41million.
Varane is expected to be unveiled as a United player next week and join Jadon Sancho as the next high profile arrival at Old Trafford.
It’s hard to believe Varane is only 28 considering he seems to be around for so long.
Relatively unknown to football fans as he played for Lens as a teenager, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson knew all about him.
The legendary manager wanted to sign Varane in 2011, before Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid’s new sporting director at the time, stepped in.
And what a signature it turned out to be. Winning three La Liga titles, four Champions League trophies and a Copa del Rey in 10 years is not a bad thing. Oh, and he also won the World Cup with France.
Jose Mourinho gave Varane his senior debut at Real Madrid at the age of 18 and would later rank him among the best defenders in the world a few years later.
“He’s still young, but I think he’s the best,” said the manager. “Already, yes. I think he’s the best defender.
And Varane also receives many compliments from his professional colleagues, Eden Hazard echoing Mourinho’s claim.
“I have met some fantastic defenders in my career, such as John Terry and Vincent Kompany,” he said last year.
“I think that although [Varane] is still young, he is already one of the best center-backs of all time.
Having one of the “best center-backs of all time” alongside Harry Maguire raises expectations at Manchester United for the season ahead.
“When I saw Man United struggling in games most of the time the teams got a little bit of confidence or saw a flaw in Man United’s armor when they see they can bring people one on one or play the ball over the defense, in one of the channels and then it’s a race, ”explained Rio Ferdinand.
“We didn’t have the players fast enough to do it in the center-back areas,” he added, praising Varane’s winning mentality.
“If you get someone like him, people start to think ‘well, we won’t play the ball over because Varane is going to eat it.’ Someone like him, he will bring that authority, hopefully. , at the bottom line.
And Ferdinand’s former teammate Patrice Evra believes the new center-back is quite similar to the legendary No.5.
“Excellent with the ball, excellent in the air. He is the complete center-back, ”he said.
“I remember his first match with the France team and I was so impressed. He was so young but so good with the ball, so fast and his anticipation was perfect.
“He’s calm with the ball and he can score too. It’s a top, top signing for Manchester United.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been backed in the transfer window and is set to end the club’s four-year drought.
Varane’s quality in defense could actually lead to a more attacking squad for United.
Solskjaer was more or less forced to play a two-way defensive midfielder of Scott McTominay and Fred in big games last season.
Much of this would have been due to the manager’s concern about his bottom line with Maguire’s lack of pace and the unpredictability of whoever was with him.
However, with Varane next to Maguire, the first man’s impressive pace could take United out of many sticky situations and allow Solskjaer to be more adventurous with his midfield caps.
In fact, it could allow Donny van de Beek to qualify for the first team alongside Bruno Fernandes if Paul Pogba leaves for Paris Saint-Germain.
The Dutchman has only started four Premier League games after joining Ajax for £ 35million last summer.
Dream Team 2021/22 – REGISTER NOW
PLAY DREAM TEAM FOR THE 2021/22 SEASON!
- £ 100,000 of prizes to be won
- Budget £ 50million to build your best XI
- Play in mini leagues against your friends, colleagues, etc.
- Click here to play for FREE
- Dream Team app available on Apple Store and Google Play Store
Last year Gary Neville placed him in his top 10 fantastic draft picks… ahead of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
Explaining his decision, the Manchester United legend said: “I put Varane ahead of Van Dijk only because at that time Varane has won so many European cups, he’s an incredible player.
“You can’t separate their talent, but Varane is a brilliant player.”
Despite the excitement surrounding Varane’s move to Manchester United, former Leeds and England defender Danny Mills has reservations about the arrival.
He told talkSPORT: “You just don’t know with the foreign players coming in.
“He’s had his injury issues – when you look at his average, he plays around 20 games a season in La Liga.
“Ten years there and 210 league games, so he obviously had injury issues.
“A lot of these games are against seriously lower opposition. It is not the Premier League standard, the toughness or intensity of the Premier League.
“I have no doubt that he is a fantastic player, but I just wonder if he will be able to withstand the rigors of the Premier League.”
One thing is for sure, Manchester United are buying a world class defender.