Manchester United signs Raphael Varane

Manchester United has signed French defender Raphael Varane from Real Madrid on a four-year deal for around $56 million.

New signing Raphael Varane is presented to Manchester United fans before the league opener against Leeds United on Saturday.   -  REUTERS

France center back Raphael Varane finalized his move to Manchester United on Saturday for a reported fee of about $56 million after signing a four-year contract.

The 28-year-old defender joins from Real Madrid, where he spent 10 seasons and helped the club win 18 trophies, including four Champions League titles. He also was a key member of the France team that won the 2018 World Cup. He joined Real Madrid in 2011 from French club Lens.

Varane was presented to the fans at Old Trafford ahead of United's opening game of the Premier League season against Leeds, walking out with a United jersey and taking a selfie in front of a full-capacity crowd.

The deal comes almost two weeks after United signed Jadon Sancho, with the Premier League club paying Borussia Dortmund a fee of 85 million euros ($100 million) for the 21-year-old England winger.

“Manchester United is one of the most iconic clubs in world football and the chance to come here and play in the Premier League is something I couldn’t turn down," Varane said in a statement.

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“There is a lot more that I want to achieve in my career and I know I’m joining a squad full of great players who will all have the same determination to win matches and trophies. Having spoken to the manager I can see how much progress has been made over the last few seasons and I now join a group ready to play at the highest level."

United also has extended manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's contract this summer as the team looks to improve upon their second-place league finish.

The club ended last season without silverware after losing the Europa League final to Villarreal on penalties. It’s the longest drought for United since the 1980s, in the early days of Alex Ferguson’s otherwise trophy-filled reign.

United last won the Premier League title in the 2012-13 season and since then has watched crosstown rival Manchester City lift the trophy four times, including last season.

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