According to Laurie Whitwell of the Athletic, Manchester United could lose one of their star players, with Raphael Varane potentially being eligible to negotiate a move away from Old Trafford in January after losing his place in the starting lineup this season.
Raphael Varane’s Future Role Uncertain With Potential For European Clubs to Capitalise
Revealed: Raphael Varane could be a free agent in summer. His contract runs to 2024, with option of additional extra year. At time club announcement stated 2025.
Means Varane can talk to foreign clubs in January if he wishes.
Full story ⬇️ #MUFC
— Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) December 13, 2023
World Cup Winner Moving Into Next Stage of Career
The 30-year-old, who played a key role in France’s 2018 World Cup victory, has had to bounce back from numerous niggling injuries over the last couple of years. This has resulted in him losing his place in the Manchester United team and the player must now adapt his body to avoid picking up more injuries to help prolong his career. Varane has taken a step by announcing his international retirement in February after 93 caps for his country.
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Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, and Lisandro Martinez when fit, are ahead of Varane in the pecking order. It must be mentioned that the defender can still play at the highest level, putting in a solid showing against Bayern in the Champions League. The manager did acknowledge the importance of Varane ahead of the Bayern fixture stating: “You see that we need strong defending today. He is very experienced, and especially against Bayern, we need to defend very strongly.”
There is much more to his game than experience if managed properly, which is why a summer exit may be on the cards due to his limited appearances in the current campaign.
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Free to Speak to Foreign Clubs with Option Not Yet Exercised
The story from the Athletic states that Varane’s contract is set to expire next summer, although there is the option of extending the deal by another year. There is no detail on the terms that would activate this extension, including if it is just an outright option for the club to extend the deal. This has led to the possibility that the defender could speak to clubs in Europe and negotiate a pre-contract agreement that would see him leave Old Trafford in the summer transfer window.
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It may seem like an obvious decision for the club to keep the player for another year, but the report also details that his contract is worth £13 million every year, meaning that it would clear a significant sum off the wage bill were he to depart. Despite having the ability to play at this level, albeit on a more limited basis, it does not appear that Raphael Varane is favoured by Ten Hag and this could lead to his departure.
This is a story that is worth keeping an eye on, as the player would attract significant interest from a host of top teams in the major European leagues. It seems unlikely that the club would have let the contract situation of such a valuable player get to the point where he could negotiate with other clubs in less than two weeks if they were planning on keeping Varane.
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Manchester United may be holding off on deciding players’ future until Sir Jim Ratcliffe finalises his purchase of a 25% stake in the club, with the billionaire set to take control of football operations. Ratcliffe will have a say on all transfers once the deal is finally ratified, although the deal is still not yet complete despite the other major bidder, Sheikh Jassim, withdrawing from the bidding process in October.