Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes Raphael Varane forced Real Madrid's hand to complete a move to join the Red Devils this summer. The Frenchman is on the verge of joining the Premier League club after the two clubs reached an agreement on Monday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had made Varane his top target after identifying him as the perfect partner for Harry Maguire at the heart of United's defence. Real were reluctant to let another top player leave following the departure of Sergio Ramos, but had their hands tied after defender rejected the offer of a new deal.

United were the France international's first preference and with the Spanish giants unwilling to let him walk on a free transfer in 2022, they were forced to negotiate. The two clubs, according to Fabrizio Romano, have reached an agreement for a fee of around €50 million (£42m) including addons.

Ferdinand is absolutely delighted with his former club's latest capture. The former England international is certain that Varane had a big role to play in ensuring the transfer happened swiftly with not too much back and forth between the two clubs.

"What a signing. There's been talk in the transfer market since it opened up - it must have come from the player," Ferdinand said speaking on his FIVE YouTube channel. "He must have wanted to leave, and be part of the new Man United way, the project that's going ahead."

"His list of honours is ridiculous, it's as long as my arm. It's a great job by the (recruitment) people at Manchester United. United have been criticised in the past, and rightly so, for dilly-dallying in the market.

"This one they were assertive, they went for their man and they got him. No doubt in my mind, he would have said to Real Madrid 'I need it, I want it, I have to go," he added.

Varane is expected to arrive in England in the coming days to have his medical and be unveiled as United's second summer signing after Jadon Sancho. The French defender has agreed a four-year deal with an option for a fifth.

Raphael Varane
French defender Raphael Varane led the way for Real Madrid OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP