Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has finally secured the defensive reinforcement he has been craving as the Red Devils parade French World Cup winner Raphael Varane before Saturday’s Premier League game with Leeds.
World class central defender Varane has put pen to paper on a four-year deal at Old Trafford where it is hoped that his defensive guile will form a formidable partnership with United skipper Harry Maguire at the heart of the team’s backline, and go some way to arresting the chasm between the club and local rivals Manchester City at the summit of the Premier League table.
The deal, which is understood to have been priced at around £41 million including add-ons, will see the 79-times capped French international end his decade-long spell at the Bernebeu during which time he won four Champions Leagues and three LaLiga titles during a trophy-laden spell in the Spanish capital.
Varane was given a hero’s welcome as he was introduced to the Manchester United faithful before Saturday’s Premier League fixture with Leeds United, showing off his new number 19 jersey, and becomes the club’s third signing of the summer in addition to England youngster Jadon Sancho who was added from Borussia Dortmind after a protracted transder sage.
Backup goalkeeper Tom Heaton has also been added to Solskjaer’s ranks in recent weeks.
“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,” said Varane upon signing his deal, before announcing his arrival by writing “Bonjour Manchester” on social media.
“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.”
Solskjaer, meanwhile, was effusive in his praise for Varane and paid tribute to a player he describes as “one of the best defenders in the world“.
“I’m absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure one of the best defenders in the world over the last 10 years. Raphael 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,” said the Norwegian.
“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.”
The wait for Raphael Varane’s Man United unveil was absolutely worth it!75,000 fans inside Old Trafford were on their feet for the World Cup winner and the atmosphere was insane 🙌 We missed this 🥲 pic.twitter.com/ej4xKCCtwz
— Manchester United Updates (@MUUpdates247) August 14, 2021
Omds Varane taking a selfie with stretford end, today is a good day
— Melly👹🔱 (@MellyUTD) August 14, 2021
We waited long for this.Welcome, Champions League Varane.
— UtdFaithfuls (@UtdFaithfuls) August 14, 2021
“The wait for Raphael Varane’s Man United unveil was absolutely worth it!” wrote a Manchester United fan account online. “75,000 fans inside Old Trafford were on their feet for the World Cup winner and the atmosphere was insane. We missed this.”
“Varane taking a selfie with Stretford End, today is a good day,” said another.
“We waited long for this. Welcome, Champions League Varane,” came the thoughts of another United supporters group of their newest superstar arrival.