Manchester United have announced that the £42million deal for Raphael Varane to join from Real Madrid is almost complete, with the Frenchman set to become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s third arrival of a sensational summer.
The 28-year-old World Cup-winning centre back has long been one of United’s top targets. Varane’s contract at the Bernebeu was set to expire next summer, meaning United got him for a price well below what his market value would have been 12 months previously.
On Monday the Red Devils and Madrid agreed a £42m fee, including £34m up front and £8m in add-ons, with both club and player having already struck a deal over personal terms and an announcement has followed on Tuesday night.
Manchester United are on the brink of sealing the £42m signing of Raphael Varane
The France star has all but agreed a deal with United, ending his 10-year stay at Madrid
In a short statement, the club said: ‘Manchester United is delighted to announce the club has reached agreement with Real Madrid for the transfer of French international defender and World Cup winner, Raphael Varane, subject to a medical and to player terms being finalised.’
Real Madrid heaped praise on Varane for his trophy-laden decade in the Spanish capital, saying: ‘Our club thanks you for your professionalism and exemplary behavior during the ten seasons in which you have defended our shirt, with which you have won 18 titles: 4 Champions League, 4 Club World Cups, 3 European Super Cups, 3 Leagues, 1 Copa del Rey and 3 Spanish Super Cups.
‘Real Madrid wants to show all its affection to Raphael Varane and his family and wishes him good luck in this new stage of his professional career.’
United forward Marcus Rashford was quick to underline his excitement, taking to Twitter saying: ‘Can we please stop spamming my posts now, oui oui’.
Marcus Rashford was quick to outline his excitement over Varane’s impending switch
Varane returned to Madrid’s training ground for pre-season medical checks this week, but travel plans were swiftly arranged as the move gathered pace. His exit ends his 10-year stay in the Spanish capital, during which he won LaLiga three times and the Champions League on four occasions.
United have capitalised on Madrid’s need to raise funds this summer as they aim to build towards a Kylian Mbappe bid next year, and Solskjaer now has the defensive partner for Harry Maguire he has long sought as he continues the revolution of the squad he inherited from Jose Mourinho in 2018.
Varane will have to quarantine on arrival in England before undergoing his medical and is expected to sign a four-year contract with an option for a further 12 months.
The Frenchman’s arrival adds to what is becoming a very fruitful transfer window for Solskjaer, having already bolstered their attacking options with the £73m signing of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. Goalkeeper Tom Heaton has also signed on a free transfer.
One of United’s long-standing shortcomings was a central defender to play alongside England star Maguire, with Victor Lindelof struggling to complement their £80m captain’s abilities.
Sancho and Varane’s arrivals are a sign of intent that United are ready to breach the gap between them and rivals Manchester City, who won the Premier League by a huge 12 points last season.
United finished second in England’s top flight last term and also ended the campaign as Europa League runners-up to Villarreal – who defeated the Red Devils after a long-running penalty shootout in the Gdansk final.
The 28-year-old has been a long-term target of Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
United have been in the market for a partner for Harry Maguire (right) and Varane fits the bill
Varane’s arrival adds to what has been a fruitful summer for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
The Frenchman is United’s third signing, behind Jadon Sancho (pictured) and Tom Heaton
RAPHAEL VARANE’S CAREER SO FAR
Position: Centre back
Clubs: Lens (2010-11), Real Madrid (2011-21), Manchester United (2021-)
International: France (79 caps, 5 goals
Honours: 1x World Cup, 3x La Liga, 4x Champions League, 4x FIFA Club World Cup, 3x UEFA Super Cup, 1x Copa del Rey, 3x Spanish Super Cup
Varane brings much-needed experience and a colossal haul of trophies – his crowning glory being the World Cup in 2018 – as United look to finally win silverware under Solskjaer.
Madrid have already seen Sergio Ramos exit for Paris Saint-Germain this summer and their clearout looks set to continue with a man who has played for the club since 2011.
Varane is United’s third signing of the summer behind Sancho and veteran goalkeeper Heaton, who moved to Old Trafford on a free from Aston Villa.
United’s defensive additions could yet continue with the club preparing a move for Sevilla star Jules Kounde, and possibly Atletico Madrid and England right back Kieran Trippier – plus a midfielder.
Sportsmail understands that Varane’s France team-mate has been on Solskjaer’s wanted list for some time, but United will face competition from the likes of Chelsea, Spurs and Madrid for the 22-year-old.
Reports surfaced on Tuesday that Chelsea have stepped up and acted on their interest in Kounde.
But United are set to have to offload players – notably Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard -in order to continue their summer spree, with the club eyeing up a net spend of between £75million to £100m, according to the Telegraph.
United are under pressure to sell Pogba with Paris Saint-Germain holding strong interest in their star midfielder. Sportsmail has recently reported that Mino Raiola is discussing personal terms with the club.
Although Pogba would still command a hefty price tag, it is understood that PSG believe they can sign the former Juventus man around £43million, less than half the figure United had paid back in 2016.
Manchester United face selling Paul Pogba or Jesse Lingard to keep spending this summer
Despite having just one year left on his £290,000-a-week- contract, Pogba has given United no indications that he is interested in committing his future at Old Trafford. This could see the club cut their losses.
Sportsmail revealed that Saul Niguez, a team-mate of Trippier’s at Atletico, is a potential replacement for Pogba. Atletico are keen to axe him from their wage bill, and may accept an offer of just £45m.
Lingard, meanwhile, also faces an uncertain future. He spent the second half of last season on loan at West Ham and impressed, having scored nine goals in 16 appearances, and looks to be in United’s short-term plans.
The playmaker is another that would command a reasonable sum, and allow United to try and land more signings. Lingard is also in the final year of his deal, and is valued at around £30m with multiple clubs keen to swoop.
Atletico Madrid right back Kieran Trippier is a target for United, but the club must sell to buy
Saul Niguez (above), also of Atletico, has been identified as a potential replacement for Pogba
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand said on his ‘Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE’ Youtube channel that he believes Varane would have tried to force his own move through.
Ferdinand said: ‘What a signing. There’s been talk in the transfer market since it opened up – it must have come from the player.
‘He must have wanted to leave, and be part of the new Man United way, the project that’s going ahead.
‘With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signing a new deal, Sancho coming in – the talent they’ve got there, the ability to play alongside (Harry) Maguire after he did so well at the Euros probably played a part. I just think he sees this as a better project than what he’s got at Real Madrid now.
‘When you watch him sometimes he almost purrs, he’s got that pace, that poise. We’ve signed a genuine world-class centre back. His list of honours is ridiculous, it’s as long as my arm.
‘It’s a great job by the (recruitment) people at Manchester United. United have been criticised in the past, and rightly so, for dilly-dallying in the market.
‘This one they were assertive, they went for their man and they got him. No doubt in my mind, he would have said to Real Madrid ‘I need it, I want it, I have to go.’