Officially the first signing of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, the tenacious right-back earned a dream move from Penarol after impressing on trial at United.
The Uruguay Under-20 international caught the Reds scouts' attention when representing his country in the qualifiers for the World Cup at that level in Turkey. A no-nonsense youngster who enjoys the challenge of defending, he performs with a combination of intelligence and aggression.
In a unique situation, his entire trial was spent with the first-team squad and he impressed Sir Alex Ferguson and the players with his ability to adapt to what was a huge step up in class.
He signed his contract in June 2013, and a full season followed in the Under-21s as he adapted to life in Manchester, only being prevented from becoming a virtual ever-present for Warren Joyce's team by a return to South America in the winter for personal reasons.
Varela proved popular with supporters and sprinted forward in injury time to set up the dramatic winner for Paddy McNair at Reading that extended the campaign and set up a semi-final date with