Raphael Varane: Is the France defender the missing piece in Manchester United’s jigsaw?

Manchester United followers are understandably delighted with Raphael Varane’s imminent arrival from Real Madrid, though the membership wouldn’t have wanted to spend £43m on the defender had Sir Alex Ferguson managed to lure the Frenchman to Old Trafford a decade in the past.

A younger Varane was beginning to seize folks’s consideration in what was his debut marketing campaign with Lens in 2010/11, together with that of United’s then French scout David Friio, who grew to become a daily attendee throughout the participant’s ultimate few months at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Varane, simply turned 18, might not have been capable of save Lens from relegation from Ligue 1 that season, however that didn’t hassle Ferguson, who knew a future world star when he noticed one.

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Spanish soccer knowledgeable Terry Gibson offers his verdict on Manchester United’s pursuit of Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane

Unfortunately for the Scot, he was not the just one operating his eye over Varane and with the United supervisor en path to northern France to signal the centre-back, Real Madrid’s new particular adviser discovered of the assembly and rapidly intervened.

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One telephone name from Zinedine Zidane was all it wanted for Varane to finish up in Madrid, not Manchester that summer season, with United as a substitute shopping for Phil Jones from Blackburn Rovers for £16.5m.

During 10 trophy-laden seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, Varane fashioned a formidable partnership at the again with Real captain Sergio Ramos, ultimately ending Pepe’s profession at the membership in 2017.

Varane labored with Jose Mourinho in his first two seasons in the Spanish capital, growing his defensive sport underneath the Portuguese, who was then at the peak of his powers, as Real prevented Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona from profitable a fourth straight La Liga title in his debut marketing campaign in Spain.

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Mourinho has coached a few of the best possible centre-backs in the world throughout the final 20 years, so it says one thing when he places Varane at the very prime of that record.

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Spanish soccer knowledgeable Alvaro Montero tells Sky Sports News that Raphael Varane is “perfect” for the Premier League following his transfer to Man Utd

“Varane is the best central defender in the world. He is still young, but I think he’s the best. Already, yes. I think he’s the best defender,” he mentioned a 12 months after leaving Real, which most likely explains why he was so eager to make him his first signing as United boss in the summer season of 2016.

However, in contrast to in 2011, this time Mourinho couldn’t persuade Varane to group up with him as United as soon as once more missed out on the France worldwide’s signature.

Varane’s Real Madrid Career in Numbers (2011-2021):

Games Played (in all comps)360
Games Started331
Minutes Played29851
Games Won240
Clean Sheets113
Yellows22
Reds2

It proved a great choice as Varane racked up over 350 appearances for Real, profitable 18 main honours in the course of, together with 4 Champions League and three La Liga titles.

So it’s that kind of pedigree United are bringing to Old Trafford – somebody who not solely is aware of learn how to win, but in addition expects to.

Image:
Varane after profitable the World Cup with France in July 2018

Not simply with Madrid both, however France too, who he grew to become world champion with in 2018. In Russia, Varane performed a key function off the area together with his dressing-room management abilities in addition to on it, the place he featured in each minute of their victorious marketing campaign as he joined a choose band of gamers to have received the European Cup/Champions League and World Cup in the similar 12 months.

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Now it’s a case of third time fortunate for United, who a decade after first attempting to carry him to Old Trafford, have lastly bought their man.

Varane – at 28 the ultimate age for a defender – might show to be the missing piece in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United jigsaw.

The sleek Frenchman is as near the full central defender as you can see in European soccer proper now – pacy, calm underneath stress, composed on the ball, robust in the air and a great organiser and chief at the again who additionally reads the sport effectively.

While it’s true Varane has not all the time garnered the consideration Ramos has at occasions at the Bernabeu, as Spanish soccer knowledgeable Terry Gibson says, that ought to not masks the high quality of centre-back United are signing.

Image:
United have tried twice earlier than to signal Varane

“Man Utd are buying one of the best central defenders in Europe,” he advised Sky Sports News.

“He has been incredible at Real since day one, he has all the attributes you want and he has been barely neglected due to Sergio Ramos.

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Former Leeds defender Danny Mills believes Raphael Varane will “need time” to adapt to the Premier League following his transfer to Man Utd

“But in terms of quality, I do not think there are many better than Varane.”

Varane will line up alongside Harry Maguire at the coronary heart of United’s defence subsequent season in a partnership that ought to complement each males completely, whereas additionally that means a watching transient from the bench for Victor Lindelof, who pretty or unfairly, has struggled to win over supporters since his arrival at the membership in 2017.

Image:
Raphael Varane vs Victor Lindelof final season

With Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier additionally reportedly on his manner this summer season, and his England team-mate Luke Shaw at left-back, United’s defence might rapidly tackle an imposing look.

Certainly, if Solskjaer is to make that bounce from second to first in the Premier League, then an improved defensive displaying is a should subsequent season.

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That is as a result of final trip, United conceded 44 league targets – the most in the prime 4 and much more than Liverpool, who struggled horribly at the again. United let in an eyebrow-raising 14 targets by way of set performs – targets which had an Expected Goals Against determine of simply 8.9.

Solskjaer clearly recognised this susceptibility from free-kicks and corners, observing just lately: “In big games against good players and good teams we lose that bit of focus. It’s a big part of football – so many goals are conceded from set plays.

“We do have a great file of profitable the first ball, however once we do not it looks like it goes in each time.”

The arrival of the 6ft 3in Varane, although, will imply targets like Villarreal’s headed winner from a set-piece in final season’s Europa League ultimate ought to now hopefully be a factor of the previous at United.

That in flip might in the end show to be the distinction between prime spot and a runner-up berth subsequent season for Solskjaer’s group, which might have made the decade-long look ahead to the France defender value it.

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