New United Signing Raphael Varane Presented on Old Trafford Pitch

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It took awhile, and longer than expected, but it’s well worth the wait. Raphaël Varane is a Manchester United player, and his official “unveiling” was a special one. The French central defender got more than a sitting at a desk, holding a pen over a contract photo-opp.

He got to take to the pitch, to see and hear the roar of the crowd (the first time the Theatre of Dreams was permitted to host a full house since March 2020), at United’s 5-1 shellacking of rival Leeds United in the Premier League season opener.  Reads a statement attributed to Varane:

“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.”

Due to covid-19 precautions that pertain to international travel, Varane had to isolate as a safety measure, and thus he couldn’t train with the rest of his teammates. That’s why he wasn’t in the squad today.

Says a statement from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “I’m absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure one of the best defenders in the world over the last 10 years. Raphaël 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 will wear #19 because Phil Jones (yes, he’s somehow still on the team, believe it or not), refused to give up #4. Marcus Rashford and Rio Ferdinand took to Twitter to welcome the former Real Madrid man to his new club. Varane should make his debut next Sunday when United travel to Southampton.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the  Chicago Tribune.

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