There’s just over three months until the transfer window reopens and one figure who is bound to attract a whole host of attention is the Real Madrid centre-back Raphaël Varane, with reports that the France international is considering a move away from Los Blancos, the club he’s been at since 2011 (L'Equipe via Marca).
It wouldn’t take much to make Real Madrid part ways with the Frenchman; just the €500million release clause he has hanging over him?
Varane has literally won everything there is to win in his eight years in the Spanish capital; a pair of La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey, and four Champions League trophies.
A World Cup with the France national team was also forthcoming last year, with the defender not missing a single minute of action in Russia and subsequently getting in the World Cup Team of the Tournament.
He’s still only 25-years-old.
A new challenge coupled with a torrid 2018/19 season that has seen no fewer than three managerial appointments at Real Madrid, not even a sniff of a title race, and crashing out in the last 16 of the Champions League, humbled - nay, humiliated - by a youthful Ajax side on home ground at the Santiago Bernabeu may accelerate his exit, even though he’s contracted at the club until 2022.
Premier League clubs could do very well to start batting their eyelashes in Varane’s direction, in preparation for any prospective summer move.
Two sides who could certainly afford his services are Manchester United and Liverpool; let’s take a look at what he could bring to each team and how viable the possibilities are;
The Red Devils’ defensive woes early on in the season were well documented, managing just one clean-sheet in their opening twelve games and two from their first 20 fixtures.
40 goals leaked is the worst of any side in the top six, and more than double than that of table-toppers Liverpool.
However, in 2018/19, despite those woes, there’s certainly positives to take from Victor Lindelof’s resurgence in becoming a solid, reliable centre-back, arguably one of the division’s best.
United have, notoriously, had dealings with Real Madrid before, despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s protestation that he ‘wouldn’t sell them a virus’. David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Gabriel Heinze, and Cristiano Ronaldo are all players who have departed Old Trafford for the Bernabeu, and Varane would be the first player since Angel di Maria to make the opposite transfer.
Varane would also be reunited with World Cup winning teammate Paul Pogba, as well as compatriot Anthony Martial to give (presumably) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side a distinct French flavour; Liberté, égalité, fraternité indeed.
My word this would be a coup and a half. Standing tall next to Virgil van Dijk, the Dutchman being bereft of centre-back partners who can match his own prestige; Joe Gomez has unfortunately been blighted by injury, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are just simply not up to scratch, and midfielder Fabinho has been deployed, dropping back, in a more unnatural position on occasion when required.
It would take a brobdingnagian sum for the Reds to steal a march on rivals for Varane’s signature; a figure that might even surpass the fee Liverpool paid Southampton over a year ago for VVD, but they certainly have more pulling power after an exhilarating title-chasing season and reaching the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League for the second successive year.
Van Dijk and Varane would be the envy of Europe. V for Victory?