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Opinion: How Raphael Varane completes United’s defensive line

Marca translator and writer Jago Hemming shares his thoughts on Manchester United’s new signing Raphael Varane, after watching the defender closely during the French defender’s 10-year stay at the Bernabeu. Hemming also covers MMA, boxing, athletics, F1 and basketball.

As the new Premier League season looms, Manchester United look to improve on their second-place finish from last season by bringing in some fresh faces.

With the youth of £72.9 million signing Jadon Sancho bringing a new flair to the team, the experience of 28-year-old Raphael Varane will look to tie up any defensive frailties that were seen last season.

Gary Neville expressed his dismay in the 2020/21 season for United’s defensive trio saying the following, as per Sky Sports:

To win titles, that triangle of goalkeeper and two centre-backs need to be as solid as a rock.”

Going on to discuss who should be brought in, he said: “It’s got to be someone who is quick, good in the air, strong and can cover [Harry] Maguire one-on-one.”

In comes French native Raphael Varane.

Having signed for Real Madrid in 2011, Varane has been a cornerstone for the Spanish giants in recent years, earning 360 appearances in his 10-year stint, as well as 79 for France.

Varane has been a key player to Los Blancos, helping the side win three La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles as well as being pivotal in his country’s 2018 World Cup win, even scoring against Uruguay in the quarter-final.

Bringing a wealth of experience and a winner’s mentality that United currently lack, Varane will be a centre-piece in the side’s squad next year hoping to strengthen the reds defensively. And at 6 foot 3, he could be a dangerous threat in front of goal.

Two of United’s current back four, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, were pivotal in England reaching the final of Euro 2020 with Shaw putting in stand-out performances down the left side.

As this partnership looks to grow season upon season, Varane will be eager to join and outshine the seemingly misplaced Victor Lindelof who saw out most of last season as Maguire’s centre-back pairing.

While United’s interest in Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is still in its early stages and Chelsea doing their best to get a deal done, the Reds’ 2021/22 season back-four currently looks to be instantly more threatening than it did last season.

With Varane surrounded by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Maguire and Shaw, United will certainly seem like a defensive conundrum to be tackled in the upcoming season.

Read more: Manchester United defender set to join Hull City on season-long loan

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