REVEALED: Matt Judge spearheaded Man United’s ‘slick’ new transfer policy as they ruthlessly pursued Raphael Varane – with John Murtough and Darren Fletcher impressively selling the club’s culture to land £42m Real Madrid man
- Man United announced they’ve agreed a deal in principle for Raphael Varane
- The Real Madrid star, who has a year left on his deal, with cost United £42million
- United chief John Murtough and Darren Fletcher have helped persuaded Varane
- The pair reportedly helped make an ‘impressive’ pitch to the French defender
- Their approach to signing the World Cup winner has been labelled ‘pretty slick’
Manchester United’s new ruthless and relentless pursuit of Raphael Varane has signalled the beginning of a new era at Old Trafford – and it even stretched to a presentation by the club’s newlook backroom staff to finally land their long-term target.
Led by director of football negotiations Matt Judge, the Red Devils’ usual complex process of negotiating deals, which has been heavily criticised in the past, is no more with Judge now spearheading the club’s new transfer policy.
According to The Telegraph, Judge’s keen and sharp eye in the presentation helped wow the Frenchman before they finally agreed a deal in principle earlier this week.
Manchester United put together an impressive and persuasive pitch to land Raphael Varane
United’s football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher also helped drive home the culture and philosphy at Old Trafford, with United been chasing the defender for the last two years.
Under chief executive Ed Woodward, who is set to depart the club later this year, fans became extremely frustrated with how deals became drawn out over long periods with little success.
Now, in a summer where they’ve already landed Jadon Sancho in a £73m deal, the tide is turning in the north west of England.
On Monday, United confirmed that they had 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.
United chiefs John Murtough (left) and Darren Fletcher (right) have helped persuaded Varane
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.’
The 28-year-old World Cup-winning centre back has long been one of United’s top targets.
Varane is seen as a marquee signing and could be the key to help United challenge for titles
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.
United forward Marcus Rashford was quick to underline his excitement, taking to Twitter saying: ‘Can we please stop spamming my posts now, oui oui’.
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’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 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.