Raphael Varane: Manchester United complete £34m signing from Real Madrid

The French World Cup winner will partner Harry Maguire in central defence

Mark Critchley
Saturday 14 August 2021 12:37
Manchester United close in on Raphael Varane signing

Manchester United have completed the signing of Raphael Varane from Real Madrid for £34m, rising to £42m in add-ons.

The deal had been agreed in principle over a fortnight ago between the two clubs, however, minor details in the 28-year-old’s four-year contract caused a delay to United’s official announcement.

It meant that Varane, who has already successfully completed his period of quarantine and medical, was unable to be registered for United’s opening Premier League match against Leeds, but the French World Cup winner was unveiled to supporters ahead of kick-off.

“Manchester United is one of the most iconic clubs in world football and the chance to come here and play in the Premier League is something I couldn’t turn down,” Varane said.

“There is a lot more that I want to achieve in my career and I know I’m joining a squad full of great players who will all have the same determination to win matches and trophies. Having spoken to the manager I can see how much progress has been made over the last few seasons and I now join a group ready to play at the highest level. I want to make an impact here and I will give everything to become part of this club’s illustrious history.”

Raphael Varane is unveiled at Old Trafford

Varane had entered the final year of his contract at Madrid and was eager to seek a new challenge, with United his preferred destination.

Madrid were eager to a secure a fee for Varane, who won three La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues during his time in the Spanish capital, and have covered a £1m solidarity payment to his former club RC Lens in order to push the move through.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added: “I’m absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure one of the best defenders in the world over the last ten years. Raphaël is a proven winner who we have tracked over a long period of time and we know just how much of a dedicated professional he is.

“We have great depth of international defenders and he will add his immense skill set and leadership to that group. He is a unique defender with a rare combination of top-level attributes that I know will rub off on our younger players. He has won everything there is to win but I know that he is still determined to succeed, I can’t wait to welcome him into the squad.”

Varane has long been admired by senior figures at Old Trafford and came close to joining under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011, only to opt for Madrid.

Over the decade since, Varane has established himself as one of European football's leading centre-backs and his arrival at Old Trafford on a cut-price deal represents a major coup for United.

Solskjaer has already welcomed the signing of long-term target Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund in a £72.9m deal, a significant markdown from the Bundesliga club's €120m asking price of last summer.

Despite United's success in the Covid-affected market and Solskjaer's desire to strengthen other areas of the squad, any further incomings are likely to depend on outgoings.

Paul Pogba is the most valuable of the players who could potentially depart, despite the midfielder entering the final year of his Old Trafford contract.

Talks over a new deal with Pogba's representatives have shown little sign of progress and may force United into a sale, with Paris Saint-Germain interested.

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