Just two years after signing with Manchester United, defender Raphael Varane has been tipped with a shock Old Trafford departure.

United added the French superstar to their roster in the summer of 2021. He was the club’s third signing in that summer. He joined winger Jadon Sancho and goalkeeper Tom Heaton after his departure from Real Madrid.

Including add-ons, the Premier League heavyweights reportedly spent roughly $51 million to get the center-back’s talents for a four-year contract. But after slipping down the pecking order this season, the France star allegedly plans to leave the Manchester club at the conclusion of the current campaign.

Why has Raphael Varane fallen down United’s pecking order?

Erik ten Hag has relegated the four-time UEFA Champions League winner with Real Madrid to the bench due to his precipitous fall in form. He last made a full appearance in a Premier League match on September 30, in a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace.

Manchester United have only given him eleven minutes of playing time since his injury comeback in October. In place of the French defender, Jonny Evans, Harry Maguire, and Victor Lindelof have all been given starting roles recently.

Erik ten Hag has preferred the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to start as center-backs.
Erik ten Hag has preferred the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to start as center-backs.

Erik ten Hag has preferred the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to start as center-backs.

The Athletic reports that Varane’s decline in status is down to Ten Hag’s fondness for left-footed players at left center-back and the player’s trouble executing progressive passes.

Ten Hag has said time and time again that left-footed players benefit from playing left center-back because of the greater passing angles it provides. Furthermore, the Dutch boss believes that tackling well, rather than using their superior right foot to hook the ball away, is their best shot.

When it comes to left-footed play, Evans and Lindelof are much more competent than Varane. This forces him to contend for United’s other central defensive place alongside the rejuvenated Harry Maguire.

And then there’s the Frenchman’s cautious passing. United is at risk of losing the ball in dangerous areas because he, in contrast to Maguire, is hesitant to make long passes and prefers to play laterally.

Where could Varane go next?

Varane looms over the new year with the possibility of ending his tenure with the Red Devils. He has a full season remaining on his contract after the current campaign. As per The Sun, Ten Hag is adamant about holding off on selling his defender during the January transfer window. The Dutchman would rather wait until the season is over.

A person familiar with the player’s situation, however, informed the publication that his departure would benefit everyone. If considering a move away from the Old Trafford, the France international is unlikely to be short of transfer possibilities.

Many speculated that Varane would leave the Premier League for a transfer to Italy or Saudi Arabia. Few can match the wages and payments of the Saudi Pro League. Yet, the source claims Varane would rather test himself in Serie A.

The Italian top division is still one of the top leagues for defenders to show off their abilities. Many prestigious Serie A clubs would want Varane. For example, Juventus, Inter and Roma want him, according to Football Italia.

Nevertheless, the article clarifies that the 30-year-old will need to exercise patience before taking any more action. That’s because Manchester United would resist his January exit and instead suggest a summer sale.