April 21, 2021

Man Utd


Neville has already compared Raphael Varane to Van Dijk amid Man United links

3 min read

Raphael Varane has already been praised by Gary Neville amid his transfer links to Manchester United.

Real Madrid are understood to be prepared to sell the highly-rated defender to United this summer over concerns that the 27-year-old may not accept their offer of a new contract.

With the centre-back’s current contract set to expire in 2022, Los Blancos are concerned at the prospect of losing him on a free, so may well look to offload him in order to obtain a fee.

A departure from the Bernabeu this summer would bring to an end a glorious 10-year career at Real Madrid for Varane, with the last decade seeing him win three La Liga titles, a trio of Champions Leagues, four Club World Cups, one Copa del Ray and a World Cup with France.

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At the age of 27, any club signing Varane would be acquiring a ready made world-class defender, hailed for both his technique and physical presence.

United do not need to look far to see what a defensive signing such as that can do to a club, either, with Liverpool and Man City both stepping their performances up several gears after signing centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Ruben Dias respectively.

Indeed, Neville has already compared Van Dijk to Varane in the past.

Speaking in April last year, Neville and Sky Sports colleague Jamie Carragher made their fantasy draft selections from world football.

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Manchester United were denied a penalty in controversial fashion against Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players were furious that Callum Hudson-Odoi wasn’t penalised for a handball, as they had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge. The point leaves United 12 points behind leaders Man City, with Crystal Palace the next opponents.

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Neville named Varane as his second pick, above Van Dijk, arguing that his achievements in football mean he should be viewed as a more valuable acquisition than his Dutch counterpart.

“I think we’ve got an amazing group of young players in England, but we have to think about the other players that exist,” said Neville. “We are not the only country in the world.

“Jadon Sancho is a talent, but we can’t start putting him in the category of these world stars who are winning European Cups and World Cups regularly.

“That’s why I put Raphael Varane ahead of Virgil van Dijk. He’s won so many European Cups, a World Cup, he’s an amazing player.”

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