Manchester United signing Raphael Varane parades on Old Trafford pitch before Leeds game

Former Real Madrid defender completes four-year deal

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Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, and the defender was introduced to his new supporters on the Old Trafford pitch ahead of the Leeds United game on Saturday.

After announcing a deal had been struck for the $56 million France international on July 27, the move was delayed by visa, isolation and medical requirements.

But United announced the completion of a four-year deal for the 28-year-old just before the Premier League game against Leeds, their season's opener.

Varane said: “Manchester United is one of the most iconic clubs in world football and the chance to come here and play in the Premier League is something I couldn’t turn down.

“There is a lot more that I want to achieve in my career and I know I’m joining a squad full of great players who will all have the same determination to win matches and trophies.

“Having spoken to the manager I can see how much progress has been made over the last few seasons and I now join a group ready to play at the highest level.

“I want to make an impact here and I will give everything to become part of this club’s illustrious history.”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure one of the best defenders in the world over the last 10 years.

“Raphael is a proven winner who we have tracked over a long period of time and we know just how much of a dedicated professional he is.

“We have great depth of international defenders and he will add his immense skill set and leadership to that group.

“He is a unique defender with a rare combination of top-level attributes that I know will rub off on our younger players.

“He has won everything there is to win but I know that he is still determined to succeed, I can’t wait to welcome him into the squad.”

Varane is likely to replace Victor Lindelof in the team and play alongside Harry Maguire at the heart of United's defence. His debut could come when United play Southampton next weekend.

United ended last season without silverware after losing the Europa League final to Villarreal on penalties. It’s the longest drought for United since the 1980s, in the early days of Alex Ferguson’s otherwise trophy-filled reign.

The deal comes almost two weeks after United signed Jadon Sancho, with the club paying Borussia Dortmund a fee of $100m for the 21-year-old England winger. Sancho was on the bench against Leeds.

Updated: August 14, 2021, 12:02 PM