Raphael Varane has been handed the No.19 shirt at Manchester United after finally completing his £34million move from Real Madrid – but only because Phil Jones refused to give up his preferred No.4.
Varane was unveiled as United's second major signing of the summer on Saturday, receiving a standing ovation from the Old Trafford faithful ahead of their opening Premier League win over Leeds.
The France centre-back was all smiles when emerging from the tunnel to meet Red Devils fans for the very first time, posing with his No.19 shirt while looking dapper in a smartly-fitted navy suit and tie.
Yet according to Manchester Evening News, Varane actually wanted to wear the number four at United, only for Jones to decline the request to give up his shirt.
Despite not featuring for United in almost 19 months, the 29-year-old was not prepared to hand over the number he has worn since joining from Blackburn back in 2011.
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Jones is still under contract at Old Trafford until 2023, but he has only been afforded two Premier League starts in as many years.
Now Varane has arrived from Madrid, he finds himself as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's fifth-choice centre-back behind the new recruit, captain Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.
While he may not have the squad number he was hoping for, Varane was overjoyed to finally put pen to paper on his long-awaited switch to United this weekend.
“Manchester United is one of the most iconic clubs in world football and the chance to come here and play in the Premier League is something I couldn’t turn down," the 28-year-old said.
“There is a lot more that I want to achieve in my career and I know I’m joining a squad full of great players who will all have the same determination to win matches and trophies.
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"Having spoken to the manager I can see how much progress has been made over the last few seasons and I now join a group ready to play at the highest level.
“I want to make an impact here and I will give everything to become part of this club’s illustrious history.”
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