Manchester United confirm signing of Raphaël Varane from Real Madrid
Raphaël Varane received a rapturous welcome on the Old Trafford pitch as his £41m transfer from Real Madrid was finally sealed on Saturday, subject to international clearance, with the centre-back greeting supporters before Manchester United’s 5-1 defeat of Leeds.
The Frenchman’s move was delayed by his mandatory Covid-19 quarantine after arriving in England and minor contractual details but the club confirmed he would be Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s second major summer signing after Jadon Sancho’s £73m move from Borussia Dortmund.
Varane paused to enjoy the moment on the pitch, taking a selfie with his phone. “It was a nice moment for him and for the fans as well,” said Solskjaer. “He’s looking forward to seeing his [new] teammates and I’m looking forward to working with him. He is a top professional, I have followed his career throughout and with the way he lives his life, we’ve got a top human just like the player [he is].
“I’m absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure one of the best defenders in the world over the last 10 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.”
Varane has won three La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and the World Cup with France and at 28 should be at his peak.
He said: “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.
“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.”
Once Varane is match-fit he is set to replace Victor Lindelöf as the defensive partner of the captain, Harry Maguire. Yet the Swede impressed against Leeds, creating Bruno Fernader’s hat-trick strike with a defence-splitting pass. Solskjær will welcome Lindelöf responding to the competition provided by Varane and he is pleased regarding his all-round squad depth.
“I’m very happy with the status at the moment,” said the Norwegian. “Jadon will get better and better. We’ve got a few more coming back [who are currently unavailable], so good times.”