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. – Agency report.