Former right-back Gary Neville believes Manchester United’s impending addition of France international Raphael Varane is a “really exciting” signing for his old club.
The Real Madrid centre-back is on the cusp of sealing a move to Old Trafford, which could eventually be worth up to £43million, after United confirmed they had reached an agreement with the Spanish club for his signature.
Varane is yet to undergo his medical ahead of completing his move to England, but is expected to be unveiled in a red shirt soon.
His impending arrival at Old Trafford will make him United’s second statement signing of the summer, following on from the £73million acquisition of England international Jadon Sancho last month, and Neville is looking forward to seeing how he slots into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, as well as praising the club’s transfer dealings.
“I think Varane is really exciting,” admitted Neville, speaking to Sky Sports. “Sancho is also exciting, but that was almost inevitable that it was going to happen. They have needed to fill that right-wing spot; it has been a problem for the last year or two.
“They have demonstrated patience in getting him, to be fair. United have become that little bit more measured in these last two or three years. I think Ole has brought that to the club. They are not getting players for the sake of it.
“Varane is exciting. I think last season every United fan, every commentator, every pundit, every analyst that watched United said that they needed a partner for Harry Maguire — and they have got one.
“He is a good age, has got massive experience and has got a good centre-back alongside him. Actually, they have got a good back-four, so he is not coming into a team that he will have to hold together. You would argue that he is the last piece of the jigsaw in the sense that the rest of them are still doing a pretty good job.”
As well as hailing Varane’s impending arrival and the qualities he will add to Solskjaer’s squad, Neville also believes that the Frenchman could raise Maguire’s game.
“[Victor] Lindelof, [Eric] Bailly did a good job alongside Maguire, but they weren’t that little bit extra that you need,” continued the Sky Sports pundit.
“I think Maguire will come out of this tournament with England strong and more confident than ever before. He has got a great centre-back partner alongside him now in Varane. He has played at Real Madrid in the biggest games that you can ever play in.
“For me, they have got two brilliant centre-backs. If they can stay fit together, and the two full-backs as well, who have got great energy as well. Both of them are great defenders and one of them is great going forward in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who is definitely improving.”
With both Varane and Sancho significantly bolstering two key areas within United’s ranks, Neville is hopeful his former side can now launch a genuine Premier League title charge.
He added: “They need to make an improvement on last season. The Europa League final still bugs me. I think that was a stepping stone for the players. If you get that medal around your neck and that feeling of winning together and that experience, it is really important.
“We did it a few times at United when we won League Cups and FA Cups and it set you on your way. That was a disappointment, that one, so I just hope that they start the season well.
“Last season, in the league, was more than acceptable as far as I am concerned, in terms of being on the journey. But this year they have got to get nearer and get close to challenging for the title. That is going to be really tough.”
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