Raphael Varane is set to take Manchester United by storm.
The Red Devils have reached an agreement to sign the Real Madrid defender for around £ 41m.
Varane could turn United into title contenders
Varane is slated to be featured as a United player next week and the next high profile signing at Old Trafford alongside Jadon Sancho.
It’s hard to believe that Varane is only 28 years old since he has apparently been around for so long.
Relatively unknown to football fans when he played for Lens as a teenager, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson knew all about him.
The legendary coach wanted to sign Varane in 2011 before Zinedine Zidane, then newly appointed Real Madrid sporting director, stepped in.
Varane and Maguire will be an impressive pairing
And what a signature it turned out to be. To win three La Liga titles, four Champions League trophies and a Copa del Rey in 10 years is not bad. Oh, and he won the World Cup with France too.
Jose Mourinho made his Real Madrid debut at the age of 18 and named Varane one of the best defenders in the world a few years later.
“He’s still young, but I think he’s the best,” said the manager. “Well, yes. I think he’s the best defender. “
Mourinho put a lot of faith in Varane as a teenager
And Varane also gets plenty of compliments from his professional colleagues, with Eden Hazard repeating Mourinho’s claim.
“I’ve met some fantastic defenders in my career, like John Terry and Vincent Kompany,” he said last year.
“I think that though [Varane] is still young, he’s already one of the best central defenders of all time. “
Having one of the “best central defenders of all time” alongside Harry Maguire raises expectations at Manchester United for the coming season.
Varane was crucial to France’s 2018 World Cup victory
“When I’ve seen Man United in trouble in games, the teams were often given a little confidence or saw a tear in Man United’s armor when they saw that they could win people against each other or play the ball on the defensive, into one of the canals and then it’s a race, ”said Rio Ferdinand.
“We didn’t have the center-back players fast enough to do that,” he added, praising Varane’s winning mentality.
“When you get someone like him, people think, ‘Well, we’re not going to overplay the ball because Varane is going to eat it up.’ Someone like him will bring this authority that I hope to the back line. “
And Ferdinand’s former teammate Patrice Evra believes the new center-back is pretty much the same as the legendary number 5.
Varane “the complete central defender” reminds Evra of Ferdinand’s style of play
“Great with the ball, great in the air. He’s the complete center-back, ”he said.
“I remember his first game with the French national team and I was so impressed. He was so young and yet so talented at the ball, so fast and his anticipation was perfect.
“He’s calm with the ball and can also score. It’s a top, top signing for Manchester United. “
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been supported in the transfer window and is expected to end the club’s four-year trophy drought.
Varane’s quality in defense could even result in a more offensive side for United.
Hazard says Varane is one of the best defenders of all time – and he should know having played against and with many
Solskjaer was more or less forced to play in big games against a defensive midfield of Scott McTominay and Fred last season.
This would be largely due to the manager’s concerns about his backline with Maguire’s lack of pace and his partner’s unpredictability.
However, with Varane alongside Maguire, the former’s impressive pace could get United out of many difficult situations and allow Solskjaer to be more adventurous in his midfield selection.
In fact, if Paul Pogba joins Paris Saint-Germain, it could lead to Donny van de Beek getting a decent run in the first team alongside Bruno Fernandes.
The Dutchman started just four Premier League games after joining Ajax for £ 35m last summer.
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Another sign of how highly rated Varane is came last year when Gary Neville included him in his Top 10 Fantasy Draft picks … ahead of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
Explaining his decision, the Manchester United legend said: “I put Varane ahead of Van Dijk just because Varane won so many European cups at that moment, he’s a great player.
“You can’t separate their talents, 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 when foreign players come in.
“He’s had his injury problems – if you look at his average, he plays around 20 games a season in LaLiga.
Varane has played alongside some of the best footballers in the world, including Cristiano Ronaldo
“Ten years there and 210 league games so obviously he had his injury concerns.
“Many of these games are against seriously inferior opponents. This is not the Premier League standard, robustness or intensity of the Premier League.
“I don’t doubt he’s a fantastic player, but I just wonder if he’ll be up to the rigors of the Premier League.”
One thing is certain, Manchester United are buying a world-class defender.