Man Utd confirm agreement to sign Varane

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July 27, 2021
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    Raphael VaraneVarane has scored 17 times in all competitions during his 10 years at Real

    Manchester United have confirmed they have reached an agreement with Real Madrid to sign defender Raphael Varane.

    It is understood the clubs have agreed an initial fee of £34m, which could rise to £42m, and that Varane, 28, has agreed terms on a four-year contract with the option for another 12 months.

    United said the transfer would be completed "subject to a medical and to player terms being finalised".

    Varane, a World Cup winner with France, has made 360 appearances for Real.

    "Real Madrid wants to show all its affection to Raphaal Varane and his family and wishes him good luck in this new stage of his professional career," the club said in a statement.

    "Our club thanks you for your professionalism and exemplary behaviour during the 10 seasons in which you defended our shirt."

    Varane, who has 79 caps, will become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's third signing in this transfer window – following the re-signing of goalkeeper Tom Heaton and the £73m arrival of England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

    BBC Sport understands Varane will quarantine before having his medical, after which he will complete his move.

    United, who agreed a fee with Real on Monday, have been long-term admirers of Varane, whose contract was due to expire next summer.

    Former boss Sir Alex Ferguson originally pursued a deal for the player before his move to Madrid, and Jose Mourinho was also keen to add the defender to his squad during his time at Old Trafford.

    Varane's journey to Old Trafford

    After coming through Lens' academy, Varane broke into the first team at the age of 17, and while he was unable to steer them away from relegation, his performances attracted the attention of some of Europe's top clubs.

    Despite strong interest from United, Real signed the teenager on a six-year contract in 2011, and he went on to make 15 appearances in all competitions during his first season in Spain as Mourinho's side regained the title.

    That was the start of Varane's impressive trophy haul during his decade in the Spanish capital.

    He helped Carlo Ancelotti's side clinch their 10th European title – 'La Decima' – in the 2013-14 season, making seven appearances and partnering Sergio Ramos in the final as they beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 after extra time in Lisbon.

    Best success rate from aerial duels by La Liga defenders (2020-21)
    Aerial duels Aerial duels won Aerial duels win rate
    Raphael Varane 96 73 76%
    David Garcia 220 162 73.6%
    Felipe 105 77 73.3%
    Sofian Chakla 52 38 73.1%
    Gerard Pique 86 61 70.9%
    Jawad El Yamiq 71 50 70.4%

    Varane was also a key figure under compatriot Zinedine Zidane, who replaced Rafael Benitez as manager in January 2016, as Los Blancos secured a hat-trick of Champions League titles from 2016-2018.

    However, a hamstring injury ruled him out of the 2016 final against Atletico and France's European Championship campaign that summer, which ended in defeat in the final.

    Having battled injuries during the 2016-17 season, Varane enjoyed arguably his strongest year in 2017-18 as Real beat Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final, before he starred for France at the 2018 World Cup, playing every minute of Les Bleus' triumphant campaign in Russia.

    Varane's performances for club and country during 2017-18 saw him finish seventh in the Ballon d'Or rankings – the highest-placed defender – and he was named in the Uefa Team of the Year.

    The centre-back has had his share of disappointments too, however, most notably in 2019-20 when his error-strewn display led to Real's Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Manchester City.

    Varane also played every minute of France's Euro 2020 campaign, which ended with a last-16 penalty shootout defeat by Switzerland.

    United have outspent rivals in Solskjaer era

    Should the Varane deal be completed as expected, United will have spent just short of £400m on players since Solskjaer was appointed manager on a permanent basis in March 2019.

    That eclipses the outlay of Manchester City (£298m), Chelsea (£262m), Tottenham (£255m) Arsenal (£243m) and Liverpool (£119m) in the same period, according to Transfermarkt.external-link

    Varane is the fourth defender United have brought in since conceding 54 goals during the 2018-19 Premier League season, after Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles.

    Having acquired Maguire and Wan-Bissaka in the summer of 2019, the Red Devils conceded 36 goals as they finished third in 2019-20.

    They climbed a place to finish second behind Manchester City last season, letting in 44 goals, 12 more than their neighbours.

    It is understood any further signings this summer are likely to depend on outgoings.

    Players Man Utd have signed during Solskjaer's reign (fees according to Transfermarkt)
    Transfer fee Club signed from
    Jadon Sancho £73m Borussia Dortmund
    Tom Heaton Free Free agent
    Donny van de Beek £35m Ajax
    Amad Diallo £19m Atalanta
    Alex Telles £13.5m Porto
    Facundo Pellistri £7.6m Penarol
    Edinson Cavani Free Free agent
    Bruno Fernandes £56m Sporting Lisbon
    Odion Ighalo Loan Shanghai Shenhua
    Harry Maguire £78m Leicester
    Aaron Wan-Bissaka £50m Crystal Palace
    Daniel James £16m Swansea

    'Varane will bring leadership and tactical nous' – analysis

    BBC Sport's Simon Stone

    READ:  Beckham's son makes pro debut in US

    This certainly seems like an excellent deal for Manchester United.

    Varane has precisely the back-story they need to bring leadership and tactical nous to their defence. The experience of starting three Champions League finals victories and a World Cup final win is invaluable in what is a relatively young United squad.

    United have been able to exploit a weak transfer market – they were the only realistic option for Varane if he decided to leave Real – and the financial issues affecting all Spain's leading clubs to come up with a deal attractive enough to entice a player of true international quality.

    The big question for United now is whether they are done in the market this summer.

    That may well depend on whether Paul Pogba decides to sit out the remaining year of his contract or if he would be willing to accept a lower salary that may be on offer in 12 months' time in order to get a move to PSG.

    Axel Tuanzebe seems the most likely central defender to make way for Varane, potentially on loan to Newcastle, although doubts hang over the futures of Diogo Dalot, Brandon Williams, Jesse Lingard and Phil Jones, who did not make a single appearance last season and has not been involved so far during pre-season games against Derby and QPR.

    Balancing the finances is important for United. However, for the fans, they just want to see Varane in action. Coming so soon after Jadon Sancho's move from Borussia Dortmund was confirmed, optimism around Old Trafford has not been so high for quite some time.

    'A complete player' – what they've said about Varane

    Real Madrid and Belgium attacker Eden Hazard:external-link "I've come across some fantastic defenders during my career, such as John Terry and Vincent Kompany. I think that although [Varane] is still young, he's already one of the best centre-backs of all time. His partnership with Sergio Ramos is wonderful."

    Former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho in 2014:external-link "I think Varane is the best central defender in the world. He is still young, but I think he's the best."

    Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk:external-link "Sergio Ramos's teammate at Real Madrid, Raphael Varane, is my favourite. He is an excellent defender and has already won a lot."

    France manager Didier Deschamps:external-link "When he is 100% fit, he knows how to do everything. He's very strong defensively, he is fast. He has good anticipation. He's never in trouble on the ball. He can score goals at set-pieces. That makes him a complete player."

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    515 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost Replied

    • B

      Comment posted by BmanAFC, today at 19:08

      Not a Man U fan but fair play, great signing imo11717

      • F

        Reply posted by fossit, today at 19:15

        "Not a Man U fan but fair play, great signing imo"fossit replied: He will spend his years on the sidelines far to injury prone now1480

      More replies (16)

    • M

      Comment posted by Michael , today at 19:10

      That’s very cheap in today’s world, for one of the best centre halves out there.8314

      • S

        Reply posted by sevenyears, today at 19:33

        "That’s very cheap in today’s world, for one of the best centre halves out there."sevenyears replied: If u think he isxone of the words best centre hslfs u are cluless . Down the old lancs rd konate is a million times better … watch this space …874

      More replies (12)

    • B

      Comment posted by bigwats99, today at 19:11

      Cheaper than Ben white7215

      • B

        Reply posted by BmanAFC, today at 19:14

        "Cheaper than Ben white"BmanAFC replied: Older with less time left on his contract and not English, what do you expect?3723

      More replies (4)

    • A

      Comment posted by Away days FC, today at 19:12

      After 10 year’s of playing in Spain hope he’s ready for a cold Tuesday night at Turf moor5310

      • F

        Reply posted by friend of few enemy of none, today at 19:17

        "After 10 year’s of playing in Spain hope he’s ready for a cold Tuesday night at Turf moor"friend of few enemy of none replied: Climate change so no worries :P393

      More replies (5)

    • S

      Comment posted by Sundayballer, today at 19:17

      Super stuff…2 super signings for total cost of what was asked for Sancho last year.422

      • G

        Reply posted by Glofy, today at 20:10

        "Super stuff…2 super signings for total cost of what was asked for Sancho last year."Glofy replied: Just need a good defensive midfielder now and get rid of some useless fringe players. We have far too big of a squad71

      More replies (1)

    • S

      Comment posted by say it as it is, today at 19:10

      An absolute steal at £34m. Exactly the sort of signing we needed to help solve our defensive issues. His pace will hopefully complement Maguire well. Now onto a CDM!4913

      • A

        Reply posted by arfur, today at 19:14

        "An absolute steal at £34m. Exactly the sort of signing we needed to help solve our defensive issues. His pace will hopefully complement Maguire well. Now onto a CDM!"arfur replied: he’s not quick, just a good sense of positioning1024

      More replies (11)

    • W

      Comment posted by willgills, today at 19:13

      Great signing. Shaping up to be the most sensible transfer window United have had in years. Varane brings proven quality and leadership, Sancho brings raw talent. Both deals done relatively early. The pressure is on for Solskjaer to succeed!317

      • S

        Reply posted by sgwh2002, today at 19:44

        "Great signing. Shaping up to be the most sensible transfer window United have had in years. Varane brings proven quality and leadership, Sancho brings raw talent. Both deals done relatively early. The pressure is on for Solskjaer to succeed!"sgwh2002 replied: In what universe is spending £100 million on 2 players sensible?1620

      More replies (5)

    • B

      Comment posted by bub , today at 19:07

      Amazing signing at a decent price for what this lad has in the locker, thank god Woodward left the club otherwise he would negotiated a £100+ mil deal for Varane4218

      • A

        Reply posted by Another Fickle Fan, today at 19:21

        "Amazing signing at a decent price for what this lad has in the locker, thank god Woodward left the club otherwise he would negotiated a £100+ mil deal for Varane"Another Fickle Fan replied: Wooodward is still there until December.392

      More replies (4)

    • D

      Comment posted by David, today at 19:04

      I must admit I was wrong I thought he was playing them for PSG a great coup by United!284

    • K

      Comment posted by kevirl, today at 19:52

      And they say city buy the league?! 1bn plus spent post Ferguson before this window now another 100m plus, and not a single title challenge yet, if they win it will they have bought it too??286

      • U

        Reply posted by Unknown User, today at 19:54

        "And they say city buy the league?! 1bn plus spent post Ferguson before this window now another 100m plus, and not a single title challenge yet, if they win it will they have bought it too??"Unknown User replied: This transfer is 34m while City are about to spend 160m on Harry Kane so its clear who is trying to buy success.1219

      More replies (5)

    • O

      Comment posted by Olly, today at 19:05

      Good signing of proven quality who will improve the team.287

      • K

        Reply posted by Kindness costs 0, today at 19:12

        "Good signing of proven quality who will improve the team."Kindness costs 0 replied: The question is: who should he partner @ CB? 🤔014

      More replies (8)

    • K

      Comment posted by Kitson, today at 19:32

      This is why the ESL 6 clubs should have been given a harsher punishment for displaying cartel like behaviour.

      These clubs’ owners were more than willing to ruin the game for the neutral & over 5000 teams in the English pyramid.

      Middlesbrough, Leeds, Bolton, Bury, Portsmouth & Wigan to name a few received larger punishments for far smaller misdemeanours.

      ESL 6 Didn’t even get a transfer ban.245

      • S

        Reply posted by susie, today at 20:27

        "This is why the ESL 6 clubs should have been given a harsher punishment for displaying cartel like behaviour.These clubs’ owners were more than willing to ruin the game for the neutral & over 5000 teams in the English pyramid.Middlesbrough, Leeds, Bolton, Bury, Portsmouth & Wigan to name a few received larger punishments for far smaller misdemeanours.ESL 6 Didn’t even get a transfer ban."susie replied: One rule for the likes of them. Other rules for the rest. It’s disgusting.53

      More replies (2)

    • W

      Comment posted by Wee Brian, today at 19:23

      Great how a team that needed to join a super league not that long ago to Improve their financial status can find £100m in a week for a couple of players.214

    • J

      Comment posted by J3YB, today at 19:07

      Get in! Sorted. This signing is more important than Sancho. Welcome to Manchester Rafa!247

      • E

        Reply posted by El_Cuervo, today at 19:49

        "Get in! Sorted. This signing is more important than Sancho. Welcome to Manchester Rafa!"El_Cuervo replied: Good news for Madrid. You bought a dead donkey.916

      More replies (3)

    • M

      Comment posted by Marord, today at 19:16

      74144148*.

      Brilliant signing! And at a reasonable price. United are doing excellent business this summer for top international players, while the noisy neighbours dither over Kane2310

      • S

        Reply posted by SouthAfricaRWCChamps, today at 19:19

        "74144148*.Brilliant signing! And at a reasonable price. United are doing excellent business this summer for top international players, while the noisy neighbours dither over Kane"SouthAfricaRWCChamps replied: City the champions you mean1215

      More replies (3)

    • S

      Comment posted by Spud500, today at 19:04

      Good signing174

      • L

        Reply posted by liverpool supporter right here, today at 20:59

        "Good signing"liverpool supporter right here replied: Still got Ole though02

    • K

      Comment posted by Kindness costs 0, today at 19:10

      He’s won pretty much everything there is on offer [WC/CL/LL etc…] A proven player on the big stage. Job’s a gooden for them!208

    • R

      Comment posted by Redman, today at 19:06

      Norwich scarves back in the box then.3018

      • U

        Reply posted by Unknown User, today at 19:18

        "Norwich scarves back in the box then."Unknown User replied: Dont worry they’ll be out tomorrow all through the Brentford game63

      More replies (1)

    • A

      Comment posted by AFCMickey, today at 20:39

      There where a lot of times at the Euros where Varane looked lost & he won’t have Sergio Ramos to shepherd him at Man Utd… Ole’s circus awaits!😹🤡124

      • M

        Reply posted by MojoMan, today at 21:13

        "There where a lot of times at the Euros where Varane looked lost & he won’t have Sergio Ramos to shepherd him at Man Utd… Ole’s circus awaits!😹🤡"MojoMan replied: I think you overrate Ramos, personally.00

    • I

      Comment posted by icelticghost, today at 19:19

      Great signing utd having a strong transfer window.102

      • L

        Reply posted by liverpool supporter right here, today at 21:04

        "Great signing utd having a strong transfer window."liverpool supporter right here replied: Dont really mean anything when they dont have a decent manager00

    More commentsBack to top

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