Raphael Varane

Ole impressed by Varane's immediate impact

Friday 20 August 2021 14:12

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Raphael Varane has always had the profile of a Manchester United player.

The Reds clinched the signing of the France World Cup winner at the weekend and he was memorably unveiled on the Old Trafford pitch prior to the Leeds win.

Raphael trained with his team-mates for the first time on Monday, 10 years on from when Sir Alex Ferguson tried to sign him as a youngster from Lens.

His performances in the intervening decade for Real Madrid have marked him out as one of the world’s best defenders, but Solskjaer has always seen him as being suited to the club. 

And the classy behaviour shown by Varane off the pitch, including in his first seven days at the club, is a key part of that.

“I think if you follow football in the last 10 years… that’s the reason we want to sign him, what he’s done over his career,” Solskjaer said.

“It’s no secret that we were close - or we were in there - when he left to Real Madrid 10 years ago. Sir Alex was in there speaking to them and we were close.

“Ever since his performances on the pitch, his demeanour and behaviour off the pitch, it tells me that that’s a Man United player. And we managed to convince him to have the feeling of Man United.

“I think that’s been in his heart ever since he went to Real Madrid as well. I think he had a little bit of a feeling for Man United. And we definitely have had feelings for him for many, many years.

“The Champions League wins he’s had, the World Cup wins… everything about him is class.”

Press Conference: Southampton (A) Video

Press Conference: Southampton (A)

The boss spoke about Varane, Cavani, young players, COVID-19 vaccines and more during his media briefing ahead of Southampton…

Varane’s strengths are obvious to anyone who has watched him across over 400 games for Real Madrid and France.

But it’s clear that Solskjaer values personality when it comes to choosing his players and the 28-year-old is always striving to improve, as Ole has seen this week.

“He’s a quick, strong defender, good in the air, he can play with both feet,” added the Norwegian.

“The short answer is everything about him is what you want. He’s been humble, he’s been inquisitive. He asks questions.

“He doesn’t want to learn by a mistake in the game, he wants to learn it on the training field before he comes on the pitch.

“Everything about him has been impressive.”