Manchester United yesterday completed the signing of Guillermo Varela from South American outfit Penarol in a £1 million deal.
The defender impressed on trial with the club and has signed a five-year contract after passing a medical at United on Thursday.
“I’m very pleased to be a part of this club, one of the best teams in the world. As everyone in the world knows, this is a huge club that has won everything and I really hope that continues.” Guillermo Varela
The 20-year-old is something of an unknown quality having playing very little first team football with his club Penarol in Uruguay under manager Jorge da Silva but it hasn’t stopped him securing a move to Old Trafford, so there is clearly talent there.
He was spotted by United’s scouts playing against Argentina in the U20 World Cup qualifications and impressed enough in his ten day trial with the club, one which he unusually spent with the first team, to earn his move. With Uruguay’s U20s, he is a regular having made eight appearances and with early comparisons to a young Gabriel Heinze, there is certainly expectation surrounding him.
Penarol boss Jorge Da Silva has said he is pleased to see his player moving to United, believing the youngster has earned the transfer to one of Europe’s top clubs.
“This is what he deserves. It is a shame to see him go but you can’t deny him the opportunity to join a club like this,” he said.
He’s a quick, aggressive right-back who has a real willingness to defend. In that respect, he’s not a typical South American defender in terms of wanting to be a forward player and joining in attacks as a winger. Manutd.com
Varela was also seemingly extremely pleased with himself and was understandably excited to be unveiled as a United player ahead of the new season.
“As everyone in the world knows, this is a huge club that has won everything and I really hope that continues,” he told Manutd.com
“I’m very lucky there are quite a few Spanish speakers here. It will certainly help me to settle in.”
As well as his desire to defend, he is a composed individual and nothing seems to faze him. Overall, he’s a no-nonsense defender who reads the game well and uses his intelligence. Manutd.com
In Varela, United have secured a back-up to Rafael and not a replacement. The Brazilian had a phenomenal year of progression but over the course of the season, back-up is always a necessity when competing on multiple fronts and that is where Varela will slot in.
It sounds very much like Varela is naturally talented at defending but his attacking game will require more work at Old Trafford – the polar opposite of Rafael when he arrived given his natural attacking flair.
Pace, desire, commitment and stamina are all hallmarks of great full-backs and it seems Varela has all in abundance. Every full-back needs to possess a desire and willingness to both attack and defend to become a great defender in the modern game, so Varela is starting off on a good foot.
All will be revealed at the U20 World Cup at the end of June in Turkey before Varela potentially makes his United debut in season’s traditional Wembley curtain-raiser on August 11th against Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield.
It is good to see Moyes’ first signing wrapped up early, albeit one that has its foundations in the Ferguson era, and there is no reason to suggest Varela cannot at least compete for the right-back spot with Rafael.
The 50-year-old Scot said he would continue the longstanding tradition of promoting youth and in Varela, he has the perfect opportunity to do so. Let’s just hope he impresses.