Manchester United have agreed a fee to sign Raphael Varane, the club confirmed last night.

The move has been lauded by United fans and met with disappointment from Real Madrid supporters, which tells it’s own story.

For United, this move is all about strengthening the defence. Last season an improved backline was the basis for City’s success, while United had only the fifth best defence in the league in terms of goals conceded.

France v Switzerland - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16
(Photo by Alex Caparros – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

There is clearly room for United to improve, and Varane’s acquisition will put a famous Sir Alex Ferguson quote to the test.

Sir Alex famously once said: “Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.”

Manchester United’s decision to invest in the defence is a sign Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is once again listening to his former boss’ wise words. This was the manager’s first port of call when he started, signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire.

Now Solskjaer has decided, quite rightly, that his backline requires a further tweak. Varane will come in to partner Maguire in the centre of defence.

Varane is a proven title winner. He has won 14 out of 14 finals he has played in, boasting one World Cup and four Champions Leagues.

 

United’s attack has not been the problem under Solskjaer. For the second season in a row, three United players scored 17 goals or more in a single campaign. In 2019/20 it was Greenwood, Rashford and Martial. In 2020/21 it was Cavani, Rashford, and Fernandes.

The team scored 73 goals in the Premier League, second highest only behind City, and this area has been further strengthened with the arrival of winger Jadon Sancho.

But United have no intention of having to constantly coming from behind to win games, and living through the rollercoaster of 3-2 or 4-3 victories week to week. Eventually you get found out that way.

That is why strengthening the defence is so important, and Varane can help take the team to the next level. The Frenchman will ultimately be judged at United on silverware. He is well used to that kind of pressure at Real Madrid.

Last season United came close, but not close enough. Success for Varane in 21/22 and beyond will prove Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous old saying right.

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