Home » Raphael Varane vs Ruben Dias: Can new Manchester United star be the difference?

Raphael Varane vs Ruben Dias: Can new Manchester United star be the difference?

by Shane Healy

As reported by the BBC, Sky News and transfer specialist, Fabrizio Romano, Manchester United are on the verge of signing French centre-back Raphael Varane from Real Madrid pending a medical.

The news broke yesterday that United and Real had agreed on a fee of £34 million for the 28-year-old, who was eager to test himself in the Premier League and for its most decorated club.

The signing (pending a medical) will mean that the Red Devils will have, arguably, one of the best back-fours in Europe.

Last season, local rivals Manchester City regained the Premier League title and it was largely down to the impact of their defensive signing, Ruben Dias from Benfica.

United finished in a distant second in May, but can Varane have a similar impact on United as Dias for City in the upcoming season?

What can Varane now offer United and how does he compare to last season’s top Premier League centre-back, Dias?

Both players finished last season with two goals each.

In the passing department, Ruben Dias made nearly 1000 more passes over the course of the season, however, this would be due to Manchester City’s favoured possession-based style.

In terms of pass completion percentage, both players are similar.
Varane was on 91% while Dias was on 93%.

Varane is very capable of the long switch to either wing and off both feet. He played 692 passes with his weaker left foot compared to Dias’ 421.

It is, of course, in the defensive stats where the reading is particularly interesting.

Per 90 minutes, on average, Dias made 0.98 tackles to Varane’s 0.83. But versus dribbles, Varane managed over double the amount that Dias made, and the Frenchman was only dribbled past 0.3 times compared to Dias’ 0.54.

The Portuguese just edged it in defensive pressures and blocks but Varane made more interceptions, at 1.19 compared to 0.65 per game and slightly more clearances.

Perhaps most importantly for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, who were near the bottom of last season’s Premier League table for set-pieces conceded, Varane is good in the air.

His aerial duel success percentage was 75.3% compared to Dias’ 68.2%.

Of course, the step into Premier League football will be a challenge and it remains to be seen whether the four-time Champions League winning Varane can adapt quickly, but there is no doubt that Solskjaer will have acquired one of his desired ‘three world-class signings’ in Varane.

(All stats according to FBREF.com)

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