Raphael Varane: Man Utd confirm agreement with Real Madrid to sign defender

Raphael Varane
Varane has scored 17 times in all competitions during his 10 years at Real

Manchester United have confirmed they have reached an agreement with Real Madrid to sign World Cup-winning France defender Raphael Varane.

It is understood the clubs have agreed an initial fee of £34m, which could rise to £42m with add-ons.

United say the transfer will be completed “subject to a medical and to player terms being finalised”.

Centre-back Varane, 28, has made 360 appearances for Real since arriving from French side Lens in 2011.

The 2018 World Cup winner has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell in Madrid, winning the Champions League four times and La Liga on three occasions.

The La Liga side said in a statement: “Real Madrid wants to show all its affection to Raphaal Varane and his family and wishes him good luck in this new stage of his professional career.

“Our club thanks you for your professionalism and exemplary behaviour during the 10 seasons in which you defended our shirt.”

Varane, who has 79 caps, will become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s third signing in this transfer window – following the re-signing of goalkeeper Tom Heaton and the £73m arrival of England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

United, who agreed a fee with Real on Monday, have been long-term admirers of Varane, whose contract with the Spanish side was due to expire in the summer of 2022.

Former boss Sir Alex Ferguson originally pursued a deal for the player before his move to Madrid, and Jose Mourinho was also keen to add the defender to his squad during his time at Old Trafford.

Varane’s journey to Old Trafford

After coming through Lens’ academy, Varane broke into the first team at the age of 17 in the 2010-11 season, and while he was unable to steer them away from relegation, his performances attracted interest from some of Europe’s top clubs.

Despite strong interest from United, Real signed the teenager on a six-year contract in 2011, and he went on to make 15 appearances in all competitions during his first season in Spain as Mourinho’s side regained the title.

That was the start of Varane’s impressive trophy haul during his decade in the Spanish capital, and he helped Carlo Ancelotti’s side clinch their 10th European title – ‘La Decima’ – at the end of the 2013-14 season.

The Frenchman made seven appearances during Real’s triumphant campaign and partnered Sergio Ramos in the final as they beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 after extra time in Lisbon.

Varane was also a key figure at the Santiago Bernabeu under compatriot Zinedine Zidane, who replaced Rafael Benitez as manager in January 2016, as Los Blancos secured a hat-trick of Champions League titles from 2016-2018.

However, a hamstring injury ruled him out of the 2016 final against Atletico and France’s European Championship campaign that summer, which ended in defeat in the final.

Having battled injuries during the 2016-17 season, Varane enjoyed arguably his strongest year in 2017-18 as Real beat Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final, before he starred for France at the 2018 World Cup, playing every minute of Les Bleus’ triumphant campaign in Russia.

Varane’s performances for club and country during 2017-18 saw him finish seventh in the Ballon d’Or rankings – the highest-placed defender – and he was named in the Uefa Team of the Year.

The centre-back has had his share of disappointments too, however, most notably in 2019-20 when his error-strewn display led to Real’s Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Manchester City.

Varane also played every minute of France’s Euro 2020 campaign, which ended with a last-16 penalty shootout defeat by Switzerland.

More to follow.

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