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What qualities will Raphael Varane bring to Man United?

What qualities will Raphael Varane bring to Man United? - Banner advertising service

Player Analysis: A tactical view on Man United’s team structure and possible defensive improvement after the arrival of Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane probably has an elite CV and will retire as one of the most decorated defenders in the history of the game of course. But the certain improvements in his game over the years has been fitting to the status he hold today as one of the very best.

His aerial ability is genuinely the greatest aspect of his game, which is insane considering how good Ramos was in the air too. Whether it be winning headers in the box or using his headers to play other team-mates through the lines, I think Raphael Varane will be an automatic upgrade to Man United’s defense line

MUST READ: Manchester United Tactics: Ole G Solskjaer’s blueprint

Talking about pace, his execution of it is extraordinary. He doesn’t only uses his speed against the fastest attackers/forwards, but anticipates it more than anyone I can remember. How many center backs have been this fast in the past 3 decades? Maybe Virgil Van Dijk so far. Will be interesting to know the data/stats on how many overlaps his challengers have to do to overcome him.

Reading of the game is what has actually made Raphael Varane’s career noticed. For years playing with a calamitous but super good defender as Ramos showed how discipline he was. Rarely got a red card. And covered a lot of space in between the lines. Will be a good partnership with Maguire at Man United.

Both him and Maguire had quite exceptional accuracy numbers for their progressive passes last season. Lindelof’s accuracy is also pretty good, funnily enough. Turns out Man United like centre backs who aren’t afraid to ping one into the final third.

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This could help Ole Gunnar tactically. I think there will be occasional times Ole would play with three at the back with Maguire, Varane and Lindelof instead of 4-3-3. Knowing fully well Man United haven’t got a proper defensive midfielder to hold on a traditional 4-3-3.

And I will say a back four with Varane and Maguire will still make perfect sense. That is one of the best partnership in the premier league on paper already. It all depends on what level Van Dijk returns to, if he’s at his best then I’d a bit critical to say the contrary with. Man City’s back line too. A Van Dijk/Matip/Konate or Dias/Laporte/Stones partnership could be superior.

But it still doesn’t change the fact that Varane and Maguire is a hilariously good centre back partnership, and Lindelof has come a long way in the last two seasons. Rotate properly between the three and sort out that defensive midfielder in front.

That Sancho signing especially, but also Raphael Varane plus the midfielder who is surely arriving, will now point towards that magical formula of breaking through a stubborn defensive block which Man United have been struggling under Ole Gunnar. It’s how champions are crowned, the difference between a Win and a Draw. But the difference between a plan and real life is actually doing it.


Last season Man United walked a bit of a tiny rope with an unreliable dependence on hopeful counter attacking and penalty kicks, late goals and turnarounds etc. They needed rounded improvements to reach that next level. Which is probably almost 100% done now. The plan, I feel, is very solid to be honest.

This is where coaching with ‘tactical know how’ (intelligence) comes into play. It’s nice to have all the ingredients and fancy brands but what matters is how you use them and maximize their potential. It is a ‘make’ or ‘break’ for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer next season.

A great cook can take standard ingredients and make something great. A bad cook can take great ingredients and make something underwhelming. There’s a football analogy in there somewhere. But what happens when a great cook takes great ingredients?

They inevitably overdo it and make something far too expensive, rich, and unpalatable. I don’t know, but we all know it’s a metaphor right?

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