Man United indecision leaves Raphael Varane able to discuss free transfer

The former Real Madrid man is out of contract this summer - unless the club trigger his extension

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Sunday 31 December 2023 15:41

Raphael Varane will be able to discuss a summer move to foreign clubs from New Year’s Day, leaving Manchester United at risk of losing a £41m signing on a free transfer.

The World Cup winner’s current deal at Old Trafford expires at the end of the season but while United possess an option to extend it by 12 months, they have not taken it up so far.

It means that, until and unless United trigger that option or agree a different contract with the Frenchman, Varane can negotiate a transfer abroad. That comes amid wider confusion over the transfer window after changes to Fifa agent rules.

The 30-year-old joined from Real Madrid in 2021 on what was initially presented as a four-year contract but was instead a three-season deal with the option of an extra year.

Varane has played 79 times for United and was a first-choice alongside Lisandro Martinez last season before being omitted by Erik ten Hag during a 10-game spell in the current campaign when he did not start.

But he has returned to the team in recent weeks, producing a man-of-the-match display in the 0-0 draw at Anfield.

Varane is one of the biggest earners at Old Trafford, giving United a decision about the cost of keeping him for an extra year.

However, three of their five senior centre-backs will be out of contract in the summer, with the 35-year-old Jonny Evans on a one-season deal and Victor Lindelof having a one-year extension that United are likely to trigger.

United’s owners, the Glazer family, reached an agreement with the petrochemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe for him to take a 29 percent stake in the club and to take control of footballing operations.

Under the terms of it, Ratcliffe and Ineos have to be consulted about all footballing decisions, which would include contract renewals and negotiations.

Sir Dave Brailsford, who is set to join the United board, has been at their last two games, the 3-2 win over Aston Villa and the 3-2 defeat to Nottingham Forest.

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