Guillermo Varela: Everything You Need to Know About Manchester United's Signing
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Despite having played less than 10 professional league matches, Uruguayan right back Guillermo Varela has already convinced Manchester United that he could have what it takes for the Premier League. The ex-Penarol youngster has signed s five-year deal with the Red Devils, whom he will join following the Under-20 World Cup.
The 20-year-old, according to BBC Sport, moved on an undisclosed fee to become David Moyes' first signing at Old Trafford. But who is Varela, and why has he enjoyed such a swift move to one of Europe's most illustrious institutions?
The Montevideo native came to prominence in January, representing his nation during the South American Youth Championships. The Celeste finished second in their group before taking third place overall behind Colombia and Paraguay, earning them a place in the World Cup this July while Argentina and Brazil faltered at the first stage.
Varela was a pillar in defence for the young Uruguayan effort, while further upfield attacking talents such as Diego Rolan and Roma's Nicolas Lopez did the damage. That side also counted on the skills of Varela's Penarol teammate, the fantastically named Jim Morrison Varela, anchoring the midfield.
While Lopez and Rolan gained all the plaudits in the opening stage, netting six and four goals respectively across the tournament (four and three in Group B), for the finals, Uruguay's success came down to a watertight backline. Just three goals entered the Celeste net in their last five games, which meant the Rioplatense nation finished the final as the only unbeaten side.
Aside from being a solid presence at the back, Varela excels with the ball at his feet down the right wing.
He is an explosive wide defender in the best South American tradition, never afraid to burst through on the overlap.
From what we saw in the South American Championships, too, he has the crossing quality to match his athleticism, as witnessed with a terrific run that culminated in an assist for Gonzalo Bueno against Chile.
Manchester United have gained a reputation in recent years for entering into the South American transfer market in search of young gems. Rafael and Fabio Da Silva both joined in their teenage years, as did Chilean striker Angelo Henriquez, who signed from Universidad de Chile and impressed during 2012-13 on loan at Wigan.
Varela may have to be patient for his chances as he begins as understudy to Rafael on the right, who at 23 is hardly a veteran either. But if the Uruguayan can confirm the potential shown already at the World Cup and beyond, a glorious future beckons in English football.
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