Various media outlets were reporting last week that personal terms are ‘not an issue’ between Manchester United and Raphael Varane, with Real Madrid reportedly willing to listen to offers of around £50million.
MEN Sport understands that although no official bid has been made by the Reds at this stage, United are ‘inching closer every day’ towards striking a deal with the Spanish giants for Varane.
The French defender is currently on holiday after competing at Euro 2020, exiting the tournament in a shock defeat on penalties to Switzerland in the Round of 16.
Madrid are rumoured to be looking to offload Varane due to there only being one year left on his current contract, and have no interest in allowing him to leave without obtaining a substantial fee.
So as the transfer saga continues, what would happen if Varane were to make the switch to Old Trafford this summer?
To find out, we simulated next season with Varane in the United squad, along with new signing Jadon Sancho, to see what could happen.
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2021 editor to arrange for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane to join Manchester United ahead of next season.
The 28-year-old defender slotted straight into the back four alongside Harry Maguire, and was a consistent name on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team sheet across all competitions.
The French international made 48 appearances for United this season, with Varane registering an 88% tackle success rate and completed 93% of his passes.
He also managed to score two goals and register three assists in his debut season at Old Trafford, proving to not only be defensively solid, but a threat from set-pieces too.
Varane also won 3.03 tackles per 90 minutes, compared to club captain Maguire’s 2.64 tackles won per 90 minutes, as well as having a better pass completion rate of 93% compared to Maguire’s at 92% overall.
At the end of the 2021/22 season, Football Manager 2021 put together an overall best United XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics.
Here is how the final 2021/22 league table looked once the simulation finished at the end of May 2022.
United finished in third position, only five points adrift of league champions Manchester City and four points off the pace from rivals Liverpool in second.
In the cup competitions, United fell some way short of expectations.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side faced their cross-Manchester rivals in both domestic cup competitions, losing 2-1 on both occasions as they crashed out of the Carabao Cup semi-finals and FA Cup quarter-finals to City.
United did reach their first Champions League final since 2011, however, and it was Real Madrid they came up against this time instead of Barcelona.
It was Varane’s former side that were victorious, winning the final just 1-0 as Varane played through injury and only registering a match rating of 6.6, the second-lowest in the United line-up.
Football Manager 2021 predicts that Varane would improve United’s defensive performance with Solskjaer’s side only conceding 33 goals in the league compared to conceding 44 goals in the 2020/21 season.
However, despite adding Sancho and Varane into the starting squad, United will still fail to win a major competition unless more reinforcements are added to strengthen the squad’s depth and ability to perform to a high level across an entire season.
Would you be happy to see United sign Raphael Varane ahead of next season? Let us know in the comments!