The worst kept secret of the summer transfer window has finally been announced, with Manchester United revealing their signing of former Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.
Here’s exactly what makes Varane such a good signing for the Red Devils, and why United fans should be more excited to see him in Red this season than Jadon Sancho…
Filling the Vacuum
Jadon Sancho’s switch from Borussia Dortmund might have been the more glamorous, headline-grabbing move, but Raphael Varane could well prove to be the more important transfer of Manchester United’s summer transfer window.
Whilst Sancho is a world class attacker, and one that United have been chasing for several windows now, the issue at centre defence has been a thorn in the club’s side for well over a decade now. Even towards the tailend of Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure as United boss, it was clear the waning of figures such as Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic was threatening to leave a vacuum in terms of both defensive duties, and the overall Championship-winning elite mentalities and leadership on the pitch.
And whether it’s Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo or Victor Lindelof, United are still yet to find a defensive pairing that have looked assured enough to sustain a challenge at the top end of the European footballing pyramid.
The world record fee paid for Harry Maguire has certainly help solidify United’s defence and inject the team with some much needed leadership in the backline, but acquiring a figure such as Raphael Varane undoubtedly represents a much larger level of pedigree.
Raphael Varane is a player that is built to play for a club like Manchester United. Having represented France since 2013 and Real Madrid since 2011, he’s no stranger to having the weight of expectation that comes with plying his trade for teams that dominate the football betting odds.
Over the course of his remarkably acclaimed career, Varane has amassed a trophy cabinet that few in the world can claim they match. Over the course of his 360 appearances for Real Madrid, Varane scooped up three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, three UEFA Super Cups, four FIFA Club World Cups and a whopping four UEFA Champions League.
Also, along with fellow United teammate Paul Pogba,Varane played in every match for France during their run to the 2018 World Cup.
For a club like Manchester United, who have gone four straight seasons without a trophy and are now one season away from equalling their worst trophy drought since the club was last relegated under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the impact provided by the acquisition of a player with the pedigree as Varane cannot be overstated.
As a player, Varane also boasts a plethora of traits that will help make him an upgrade to the current Manchester United set up. At six foot three inches, the Frenchman is taller than Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, giving him a noticeable ability in the air that will help answer one of the team’s most glaring weaknesses last season.
Also, like Harry Maguire, Varane comes with a background of playing the game with the ball at his feet, and is certain to bring with him a much better ability of passing around the back. The Frenchman is very happy marauding forward similarly to the likes of Maguire, Virgil Van Dijk or Thiago Silva, and his ability to pass between the lines should help release the burden on United’s present defenders, and offer a different dimension to the team building out passages of play from a low block.