France international Raphael Varane is rapidly approaching his 30s, but the Manchester United ace has found his feet at Old Trafford and will no doubt play a big part in the second half of United’s season.
After leaving Real Madrid to sign on the dotted line at Old Trafford back in August 2021, big things were expected of Varane. It took the Frenchman time to settle into his new surroundings as the Red Devils went through another transitional period, but Varane is starting to come good.
Can United Sneak into Top Four?
Man United have improved drastically under Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman has responded well after a woeful start, turning the Manchester giants into genuine top-four contenders. United are in the mix for a UEFA Champions League place, currently being priced at Premier League odds of 1/8 for a top-four finish. Also, Betfair is offering 14/1 for Ten Hag’s troops to win the league.
Man United’s success this season has been built on a solid defence. Varane was on the bench for the first two games of the season, which both ended in embarrassing defeats. On the opening weekend of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign, Ten Hag’s first match ended in a 2-1 home loss to Brighton & Hove Albion. They then suffered one of their worst results in recent memory, as United were hammered 4-0 at Brentford.
Varane Coming Good for Ten Hag
Varane was swiftly drafted into the starting lineup for Man United’s next game, and the France international was a stalwart at the back in a 2-1 home victory over rivals Liverpool. He remained a regular in the team before injury at Stamford Bridge halted his momentum and threatened to end his 2022 FIFA World Cup dream.
Varane worked hard to get fit and went on to feature in six World Cup matches for France. He played every minute of the knockout phase as Les Bleus went on to lose to Argentina on penalties in the final.
Since returning from the World Cup, Varane has slotted back into the United team seamlessly. He is a commanding character on the pitch, and the Red Devils look much more resolute in defence when Varane is in the team.
Big 2023 for Red Devils
The second half of the season is looking like a huge one for Man United. They look like a good bet to finish in the Champions League places, as Liverpool and Chelsea have too much ground to make up, while Tottenham Hotspur remains inconsistent.
Varane & Co. are desperate to bring Champions League football back to Old Trafford. Man United are in the UEFA Europa League right now, and they face Spanish heavyweights Barcelona in a two-legged Round of 32 play-off tie. If they can get past Barca, United will fancy their chances of going all the way.
Varane was a huge player for Real Madrid during his ten-year stay in the Spanish capital, and he has racked up nearly 100 appearances for France since 2013. The 29-year-old is now starting to shine at Old Trafford, and Man United are reaping the rewards.