Raphael Varane has been described as being a “Rolls-Royce” and “an absolute bargain” after his £34m move from Real Madrid to Manchester United was agreed.

He will join fellow new arrivals Jadon Sancho, signed from Borussia Dortmund for £73m, and free transfer Tom Heaton at Old Trafford as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer builds a squad to try to improve on the second place they achieved in the Premier League last season.

As long as his medical is successful and personal terms are finalised, Varane would take United’s spending on players to just short of £400m since Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis in March 2019, eclipsing the outlay of Manchester City (£298m), Chelsea (£262m), Tottenham (£255m) Arsenal (£243m) and Liverpool (£119m) in the same period, according to Transfermarkt.

But can Varane help the 13-time Premier League winners bridge last season’s 12-point gap to their local rivals Manchester City? Should we now class them as genuine title contenders as they look to end their eight-year wait to be English champions?

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