Raphael Varane will not be available for Manchester United’s season opener against Leeds but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the defender’s switch from Real Madrid will be finalised soon.
Having signed veteran goalkeeper Tom Heaton and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, the Old Trafford giants struck a deal with the LaLiga side for the 28-year-old defender.
United have admired Varane since Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge but will have to wait a little longer to see him in their kit, despite the clubs announcing an agreement had been reached on July 27.
The France international had to obtain a visa and isolate before having a medical with the Premier League side, who needed to register the centre-back by midday on Friday if he was to feature against Leeds on Saturday.
“He’s not trained with us and all the dots over the i’s and we haven’t crossed the t’s yet,” United manager Solskjaer said.
“Things happen and things take time and unfortunately with the isolation that delayed these things.
“It’s not 100 per cent done yet… I can’t say that he will be involved tomorrow, I can probably say he won’t be (involved) because he’s not trained with us.”
Asked what the hold up has been and if there is any concern it will not be completed, the 1999 treble hero said: “It always happens that there’s little things in there.
“But the big hold up was the isolation and the quarantine, of course. He’s been in Manchester now. It’ll be done soon.”
Solskjaer had hoped to be able to call upon both his marquee summer signings against old foes Leeds as Old Trafford welcomes a full house for the first time since March 2020.
While Varane is unavailable, the United faithful could get a first glimpse of £73million signing Sancho despite illness disrupting his first week of training with his new club.
“Jadon is going to be involved, definitely,” Solskjaer said. “He’s had a good week. Unfortunately, he was ill after his holiday and we’ve lost out on a few days of training with him.
“But he’s gelled really well in the group and he has looked sharper than expected almost. He’ll be involved. I can’t tell you if he’s going to start or not, though.”
Solskjaer says United are “still missing a few players through injury and Covid”, with Edinson Cavani out as he completes quarantine following his return from an extended summer break.
The veteran arrived on deadline day last year and United’s transfer activity will continue to dominate the headlines until the end of this month’s window.
Paul Pogba’s future is among the main discussion points, with the 28-year-old midfielder out of contract next summer.
“He’s a Man United player, he’s got one year left of his contract,” Solskjaer said. “It’s been spoken about and written about so often. Every discussion and conversation I’ve got with Paul is a positive one.
“He knows what we want and hopefully he keeps on in the background and they’ll make decisions whenever, or Paul and us together.
“It’ll always be like with this with Paul. He’s a media magnet.”
Paris St Germain’s eye-catching acquisition of Lionel Messi has quietened talk of Pogba moving to the French capital this summer.
Compatriot Anthony Martial has also been the subject of speculation. Inter Milan have been linked with the 25-year-old after selling ex-United striker Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams targeted Anthony because he’s a very, very good player,” Solskjaer said of the forward, who has yet to play a competitive match since suffering a knee injury in March.
“I have got no plans whatsoever for him to play against us.
“Anthony has come back strong, hungry, with a determination to prove his fitness and quality because of last season was a difficult and disappointing one for him.
“You can see that little bit of grit between his teeth again. He’s up for the challenge. He’s a Man United player and we’re happy we have him. He’s proven doubters wrong so many times.”
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