The French football community are in two minds as to whether Raphael Varane is making a good choice in leaving Real Madrid to join Manchester United.
Footmercato.net’s journalists are divided on the issue and have dedicated an article to the debate.
Their arguments that the 28-year-old has made the right decision include:
‘First of all, the Frenchman has had the courage to take the plunge.
‘The prospect of rubbing shoulders with the formidable Premier League, after having cracked La Liga, therefore appears to be a coherent choice for a player at the height of his career.
‘The 2018 world champion is joining a club and a team overflowing with ambition and not hesitating to back themselves to prove it and achieve their goals.
‘Spurred on by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who has achieved promising and interesting things since taking office at MU, the Red Devils have a collective with the ability to take it up a notch.
‘Alongside Sergio Ramos, he formed one of the most successful partnerships in the football world for several years. But now, the Spaniard has aged and Varane, in his comfort zone, no longer seemed as imperial as he used to be with Real. He has been through a few difficult slumps.
‘An end of the cycle is approaching or has been reached at the Merengues. It was probably the right time to look elsewhere and taste the joys of English football in the north of Her Majesty’s Kingdom [and to] show everyone in football that he is still one of the best central defenders in the world.’
Footmercato then put forward the arguments that this may be a mistake for the defender:
‘After ten contested seasons … the former Lensois had everything to become the new leader of Real’s rearguard, after the departure of Sergio Ramos to Paris Saint-Germain.
‘And in Spain, the local press remains unanimous. While the Madrid workforce is under reconstruction, the Lille native would have become the new captain.’
‘The difference between La Liga and the Premier League could also cause him problems. There is no doubt: the English Championship is of a different intensity to what he experienced in Spain, with strong and tall attackers, like Harry Kane (1.88 m) or Dominic Calvert-Lewin (1.87 m) who are used to provoking defenders in the duel.
‘To assimilate to the Premier League and take leadership in this Mancunian partnership that he will share with captain Harry Maguire, Raphaël Varane will also need several months of adaptation. Even for a player of his calibre. The timing is perilous just over a year before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.’
That period of adaptation will also be crucial to United. A lack of pre-season preparation will not help to build an understanding with Maguire at the back and there will certainly be a baptism of fire awaiting if Varane takes to the field against old rivals Leeds on August 14th for the first time in a red shirt.