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Safe to Say the Raphael Varane is Better Than Ben White Debate Didn’t Age Well 

Safe to Say the Raphael Varane is Better Than Ben White Debate Didn’t Age Well 

Manchester United and Arsenal couldn’t have had more contrasting seasons than the 2023/24 campaign. While Arsenal are fighting tooth and nail, going neck to neck with Manchester City in an enthralling run in for the Premier League title, Manchester United find themselves currently languishing at 8th, their lowest ever finish in the Premier League and out of the spots contesting for the European competitions.

Same can be said about Ben White and Raphael Varane’s time at their respective clubs ever since their arrival.

Arsenal signed Ben White from Brighton in a 50 million pound deal from Brighton in 2021, around the same time when Manchester United pounced on an opportunity to bring Raphael Varane to Old Trafford from Real Madrid for a fee of 42 million pounds.

At the time, there was a lot of talk about sheer difference in quality between the centre backs bought in by other top clubs in the league and Arsenal. There was even a meme of the ‘four headed dragon’ making rounds online representing the quality of signings.

While Liverpool signed Konate, Chelsea were rumored to sign Kounde, and United got their hands on Varane, White was signed by Arsenal in the most expensive deal of the lot.

It was an even more fierce debate among the fans regarding the projected trajectory of Varane and White. While Manchester United a serial Champions League winner in Raphael Varane, many of the aficionados suggested Ben White to be an unserious signing for Arsenal’s lofty ambitions.

Fast forward to today, there couldn’t be more daylight between them to separate the two.

Ben White, brought in initially as a centre back made an opportune use of his versatility and became an undisputed starter as an exceptional right back at Arsenal. His chemistry and dynamics with Saka on the right wing have been a source of devastating attacks for the Gunners.

Not only that, his everlasting work rate and impervious defensive skills have attracted great plaudits and he has deservedly established himself as one of the best right backs in the league, nay the game.

Varane, on the other hand, finds himself struggling on the opposite side of the spectrum. The French international’s time at Old Trafford has been severely handicapped with injuries. While he has still put in a good performance here and there, Varane could never find the consistency he was bought in for. At times, ten Hag even chose to field 36 year-old Johnny Evans ahead of him.

As for their impact on the team, Ben White is miles ahead again. Varane has been a part of one of the darkest times at United, shipping a whopping 82 goals this season, their most ever since 1971.

Whereas White has been a key fixture for a transformative Arsenal side that has gone on to challenge for the Premier League title for two consecutive seasons, playing some champagne football at times and even impressing in the Champions League, which couldn’t be said about Man United.

It’s fair to say, the debate or the clear landslide predicted at the start of their careers at their respective clubs hasn’t aged well at all. If anything, Ben White officially won the race on the weekend when Arsenal pipped United to go top of the table again.

Even their futures too couldn’t be more different. While White is the foundation of this brave new Arsenal side, Varane has packed his bags and leaving the nightmares at the Theatre of Dreams for good at the end of the season.

At the start of his tenure, Erik ten Hag said “Eras come to an end” and looking forward to next season, he has effectively ended Varane’s era at the top. A one-sided end to the debate.