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Real Madrid Bid Adios to Raphael Varane But is He the Final Piece in Man Utd Jigsaw?

Real Madrid's Raphael Varane (right) in action against Real Sociedad.
© REUTERS / SERGIO PEREZ

Manchester United have already spent £73 million on England midfielder Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. Now they are on the brink of signing Real Madrid’s French defender Raphael Varane.

Real Madrid have bidden farewell to French international defender on Twitter after agreeing a 50 million euro (£43 million) fee with Manchester United.

Varane, 28, won the World Cup with France in 2018 and also has four Champions’ League final winners’ medals from his time at the Bernabeu, having joined from French side Lens in 2011.

​On their website, the Red Devils 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."

Manchester United fans have for years been demanding a top quality central defensive partner for England international Harry Maguire.

Maguire joined United from Leicester for £80 million in the summer of 2019 and has been paired with either Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly. But United’s defence has continued to haemorrhage goals.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping the Maguire-Varane defensive partnership will shore up the defence and propel them to their first Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

© AP Photo / Alessandra Tarantino
England's Harry Maguire celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship quarterfinal match between Ukraine and England at the Olympic stadium in Rome at the Olympic stadium in Rome, Italy, Saturday, July 3, 2021

Under Ferguson, United’s success was built on successive strong defensive pairings.

In 1987 - a year after his arrival at Old Trafford - Ferguson signed Steve Bruce from Norwich and two years later he recruited Gary Pallister from Middlesbrough.

They became the rock on which United won their first Premier League title in 1993 and their first double in 1994.

​Ferguson signed David May that year from Blackburn to take over from the ageing Bruce, who finally left in 1996.

May and Pallister helped United to another league and cup double in 1996.

Pallister returned to Middlesbrough in 1998 and was replaced by Dutchman Jaap Stam, who was signed for £10 million from PSV Eindhoven.

Stam partnered with Norwegian Ronny Johnsen during the historic 1998/9 season when United won the treble, including an infamous Champions’ League final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona.

Manchester-born youth team product Wes Brown replaced Johnsen as Stam’s partner.

​When Stam left he was replaced in the summer of 2002 by Rio Ferdinand, signed from Leeds for what was then a record £29.1 million.

Ferdinand went on to team up with Serbia’s Nemanja Vidic and they played 750 games for United before both left Old Trafford in the summer of 2014. The highlight of the Ferdinand-Vidic partnership was the 2008 Champions’ League final win against Chelsea in Moscow.

With this template behind him, Solskjaer will be hoping the Maguire-Varane partnership can stay together and flourish for a few seasons and get United some trophies.

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