Varane completes Man United move

By Sports Desk August 14, 2021

Manchester United have completed the signing of Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.

United confirmed at the end of July that they had reached an agreement to bring France centre-back Varane to Old Trafford.

However, Varane had to go through a quarantine period upon his arrival in the United Kingdom due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

The France international was finally introduced to the Old Trafford fans minutes before kick-off in their Premier League opener with Leeds United on Saturday.

Varane, who had less than a year remaining on his Madrid deal, has now sealed his move to the Red Devils and will play in the Premier League for the first time.

United are reported to have paid a fee of £42.7million (€50m) to secure the services of the 28-year-old on a four-year deal.

Having also brought in Jadon Sancho, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now added one of the world's best defenders.

Varane, who moved to Madrid in 2011 from Lens, has a wealth of experience, winning three LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns as he has racked up over 350 appearances in the Spanish capital.

In the absence of Sergio Ramos for much of last season, Varane ranked second among Madrid defenders in terms of both duels won (110) and interceptions (36) in LaLiga.

It was Varane's aerial presence that really shone through at the back and his 73 successful aerial duels were more than double the tallies of his defensive colleagues.

Indeed, out of all defenders in LaLiga to contest 20 or more aerial duels, Varane's success rate of 76 per cent was the best during the 2020-21 campaign.

That ability in the air will boost a United side lacking in that sense last term, despite Harry Maguire's expertise. Excluding penalties, only Leeds United (15) conceded more Premier League goals from set-pieces than United's 14.

 

Varane's vast experience even beyond his Madrid exploits should aid Solskjaer's side, too.

The defender has played 79 times for France, winning the World Cup in 2018 before playing in all four games at Euro 2020 on the way to Les Bleus' shock last-16 exit.

Varane was the only France defender who saw action and was not dribbled past by an opponent at the Euros, showing his talent on the ground as well as in the air.

With pace to get out of trouble, Varane appears an excellent foil for Maguire as United look to improve on last campaign's second-placed Premier League finish.

Related items

  • Van der Sar addresses Ten Hag-Man Utd links as Ajax chief hints at Old Trafford return Van der Sar addresses Ten Hag-Man Utd links as Ajax chief hints at Old Trafford return

    Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar welcomed Manchester United's rumoured interest in head coach Erik ten Hag, while he hinted at a return to the Red Devils.

    Ten Hag has been linked with Premier League giants United, who are eyeing a long-term manager following the interim appointment of Ralf Rangnick until the end of the season.

    Ajax's Ten Hag has impressed in his time in Amsterdam, where the 51-year-old has delivered two Eredivisie titles and embarked on a memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals.

    Ten Hag's men have been the entertainers of Europe this term, dazzling their way into the Champions League round of 16, becoming the first Dutch side in history to win all six of their group-stage games in a campaign following Tuesday's 4-2 victory over Sporting CP.

    Ajax have also won six consecutive matches in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their illustrious history.

    Van der Sar was asked about the speculation regarding Ten Hag prior to the Group C fixture in Amsterdam.

    "This means that we are doing something well," Van der Sar told RTL7 pre-game. "It's the same with the players. When we perform well, the interest comes.

    "If there is interest in our players or coach… we've all been blown away in the past. So be it, we have to make sure we're ready by then, that the lists are filled in."

    Former United goalkeeper Van der Sar has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford, where the 51-year-old won four Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours between 2005 and 2011.

    Van der Sar has held the role of Ajax CEO since 2016 and he responded to the rumours by saying: "I am enjoying myself so much at Ajax, I still have two years left here.

    "I want to keep achieving things here with the club. But I am sure that one day the moment will arrive."

    Van der Sar added: "I think it's really cool to be part of the club like this, because you don't do this alone and not just this year, but in the past 10 years.

    "I still have two years to go. I don't think we're done at the club here yet. I think we can still grow in the Netherlands, but especially internationally. That's the challenge. And that seems even more cool for now."

  • Ten Hag hails 'outstanding' achievement after Ajax and Haller make Champions League history Ten Hag hails 'outstanding' achievement after Ajax and Haller make Champions League history

    Erik ten Hag lauded Ajax's "outstanding achievement" after the high-flying Dutch giants capped their group-stage campaign with more Champions League history.

    Ajax made it six wins from six games in Group C following Tuesday's 4-2 victory over fellow last-16 bound outfit Sporting CP in Amsterdam.

    With the triumph, Ajax became the first Dutch team to win all six of their games in a single Champions League group-stage campaign.

    Ajax also won six consecutive matches in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their illustrious history.

    Ten Hag's men have swept all before them in Europe this season and the Manchester United-linked head coach hailed Ajax.

    "To win one match in the [UEFA] Champions League is difficult enough, but to win six in a row is an outstanding achievement," Ten Hag said.

    "The intensity was good throughout the match this evening. You saw that in the pressure we put on them which led to the second goal by Antony."

    Sebastien Haller broke a Champions League record held by Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland when he gave Ajax the lead against Sporting, matching another feat previously only ever achieved by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Haller took his tally this term to 10 goals in six appearances – making him the quickest player to reach double figures in a Champions League career after Haaland had previously managed to so in seven matches.

    Ivory coast international Haller also became the first player to score in each of his opening six games in the competition.

    Haller is only the second player in Champions League history to score in all six matches of a single group stage after Ronaldo in 2017-18, while the former West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt forward is only the second Ajax player to score 10-plus goals in a single season of the premier club competition following Soren Lerby in 1979-80.

    "There is no secret [to our success]. It’s just a matter of working hard, together. The coach tells us everything we should know. And then we just try to stay focused," Haller told UEFA.com.

    "Of course I didn't expect it [to score ten times in six matches], especially in my first games. The only thing you want to do is perform well, and be in the flow of the game. Ten goals was not in my dreams. So I can be happy and proud today."

    Haller added: "The way we train every day, the way we think; we always want to play well and perform. Even at the end of the game you could see that.

    "We're really happy with the energy and focus we put into the game, and we just hope that the next game will be the same."

  • Ancelotti realistic about Real Madrid's Champions League chances Ancelotti realistic about Real Madrid's Champions League chances

    Carlo Ancelotti is not getting carried away over Real Madrid's Champions League prospects despite Tuesday's 2-0 win at home to Inter sealing top spot in Group D.

    Madrid just needed to avoid a defeat to go through to the knockout phase as group winners, but they ultimately battled to a commendable victory over the Italian champions.

    Toni Kroos netted a glorious first-half opener, before a similarly satisfying Marco Asensio curler wrapped up the win 11 minutes from time.

    As such, Madrid will – theoretically – get a kinder draw than runners-up Inter in the last 16, potentially setting them up nicely to reach the quarter-finals.

    Los Blancos went as far as the last four in 2020-21 following back-to-back round-of-16 eliminations, though Ancelotti is not making any sweeping statements regarding their chances of going deeper into the competition this time around.

    He told reporters: "We have the quality to win LaLiga and the quality to compete in the Champions League.

    "There are no teams with the quality [guaranteed] to win the Champions League, just to compete.

    "There are more intense teams, others with more quality. We are not an intense team in the defensive aspect, but we have a lot of quality, a lot of experience and a lot of commitment."

    Luka Modric made his 100th Champions League appearance on Tuesday, becoming only the ninth player to reach that landmark while at Madrid. Eight of those games came during his time at Tottenham.

    Modric turned in a typically controlling display and completed the full 90 minutes, which was somewhat surprising given the important nature of Sunday's clash with Atletico Madrid.

    There had been calls prior to the weekend win over Real Sociedad for Ancelotti to rotate his midfield more, yet Modric is heading into the derby having played 90 minutes both against La Real and Inter.

    The Croatian is not concerned, however.

    "I feel very good," the 36-year-old told Movistar. "I think you don't have to look at the years, you have to look at what you do on the field. The years are less and less noticeable because players' careers are prolonged.

    "I feel very good, and I feel like I am younger than 30!"

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.