Manchester United’s potential pursuit for Raphael Varane has reached a stage where it could realistically be assessed as a deal in the making.
The French centre-back would bring a lot to the club and any arrival would also initiate a set of interesting domino effects ahead of the start of the next season.
1. Best Defensive Partnership in the World On Paper
At least on paper, the centre-back pairing of Varane and Harry Maguire is one for the history books. Maguire’s Euros showing firmly cemented his spot as a strong centre-back in world football.
Meanwhile, Varane’s credentials have little doubt. However, it is yet far from certain as to just how successful this partnership pans out to be. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s defensive ethos have often been questioned, especially when paired with the kind of masterclasses that Jose Mourinho used to deliver.
Regardless, this will be an intriguing set of players to potentially engineer a title-winning backline with.
2. Signed Ten Years Too Late
United will have finally acquired a signing whom they had on their radar a decade prior. Reports have indicated that the club did appear interested in the Frenchman back when he plied his trade at RC Lens.
However, that deal did not materialise and United will now look to acquire a player well after his potential was realized. Incidentally, this does beg the question as to who the Red Devils will sign in the future a decade after being linked with them recently. Surely not Erling Haaland?
3. Challenge for Ancelotti
While Solskjær will receive a defender capable of constructing a fearsome partnership at Old Trafford, his Real Madrid counterpart faces the exact opposite predicament.
Carlo Ancelotti’s new stint with Los Blancos will see him start bereft of two long-serving defenders of the La Liga side. The departure of both Sergio Ramos and Varane in a single-window is bound to hit their defensive ethos.
A lot of questions have been raised as of recent regarding Madrid’s potential to strike big again and how Ancelotti tackles this problem will prove to be pivotal in bringing about a solution for the future.
4. Tuanzebe or Bailly to Depart
The arrival of an experienced defender will almost certainly mean that one of the figures at Old Trafford who functions as a backup option could depart. While Victor Lindelof is almost guaranteed a spot given that he will be the main competition for Varane, the same cannot be said about Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe.
For one, the figures have been peripheral at the Theatre of Dreams for a while now. Bailly has been afflicted with injury after injury while Tuanzebe has not been able to make the leap from the academy and loan spells into the first team successfully.
As such, one of them could be shown the exit door and the Ivory Coast international’s Olympic deputation and age could make him the ideal candidate for the same.
5. More Freedom for Maguire
Varane’s relatively traditional role as a centre-back will permit Maguire to make the best use of his ball-carrying abilities and to do it more often.
Usually, the Englishman would be vary of initiating too offensive an approach but with Varane’s trusty figure at the back, this can be yet another source of goals and creativity for Solskjær.
Further still, the Frenchman’s pace will be a massive one-up to that of Lindelof, resulting in quicker cover play.
6. Aerial Dominance in Both Boxes
Maguire’s reliable head has been a regular source of goals for club and country. In Varane, Solskjær now has yet another reliable header, especially when it comes to winning aerial duels.
As such, United could easily dominate in both boxes. This will also be in keeping with their aim to concede less from corners and set-pieces as well as making those events a regular source of easy goals.
7. Trophy Experience
While Varane’s experience at the top flight and European and global football alone makes him a great candidate, the defender also boasts of an impressive trophy haul.
Be it with the multi-season Champions League haul in Spain or the World Cup with France, there are arguably few other figures better suited to end United’s silverware drought.
How successful a signing will Varane pan out to be in the post-pandemic era of football for United?