Guillermo Varela has left Manchester United on a temporary basis, joining Eintracht Frankfurt on a season-long loan.
The right-back was the club’s first post-Sir Alex Ferguson signing, joining from Uruguayan outfit Atletico Penarol in the summer of 2013.
He had to bide his time, not making his first team debut until December last year in a 0-0 draw against West Ham United.
This led to a total of 10 starts, with Antonio Valencia’s injury and Matteo Darmian’s mixed form affording the Uruguayan game time under Louis van Gaal.
However, he hasn’t been seen in the first team since his error allowed Philippe Coutinho to race clear and score Liverpool’s crucial away goal on the stroke of half-time to send United crashing out of the Europa League back in March.
He was hauled off at the interval as a result, and was forced to remain with Warren Joyce’s U21s for the remainder of the campaign.
Nonetheless, it was Varela’s last minute winner away at Tottenham Hotspur that saw the U21s retain the Premier League title, causing scenes of jubilation at White Hart Lane.
Varela was used late on in an unfamiliar midfield role against Wigan Athletic in last week’s friendly, but his move to Germany means regular game time for the 23-year-old.
This isn’t the first loan move since being signed by David Moyes three years ago; the 2014/15 season saw him make 33 appearances for Real Madrid Castilla, their B team, impressing coach Zinedine Zidane who has since taken over the role of first team manager.
Praise from one of football’s greatest players is an accolade to be proud of, with Varela likened to former United fan favourite Rafael Da Silva.
Those comparisons are fair, with both keen to venture forward and supply crosses when possible, but occasionally rash when relied on to fulfil defensive duties.
His energy and work rate are two notable attributes that he possesses, and he has the chance to impress in one of Europe’s top leagues for the foreseeable future.
With Darmian, Valencia and Timothy Fosu-Mensah ahead of him in the pecking order, whilst Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly also options at right-back, Varela’s minutes under Jose Mourinho would have been slim.
This made a loan move a sensible option, having proven himself at reserve level, with the chance to grasp this opportunity for regular first team football elsewhere.
We wish Varela all the best in his time away from Old Trafford.