Manchester United could be set to sell Raphael Varane to a club in the Saudi Pro League in this January’s transfer window, with Harry Maguire now seen as increasingly likely to stay at Old Trafford.
Sources with a close understanding of the situation have informed CaughtOffside that Man Utd would be ready to consider the right offer for Varane, who is attracting interest from the PIF group of Saudi clubs, meaning he could end up at any one of Al Ahli, Al Hilal, Al Nassr or Al Ittihad, depending on who needs him most.
A host of big names moved to Saudi Arabia in the summer, with Cristiano Ronaldo starting this trend when he joined Al Nassr almost a year ago after also leaving United.
The Red Devils are keen to make a centre-back a priority for 2024, and while it had previously seemed like Maguire could be the obvious choice to leave, that is no longer the case, as the player remains keen to fight for his place in Erik ten Hag’s squad, whereas Varane is understood to have expressed a desire to try a new challenge.
The Frenchman has been a solid performer since his move from Real Madrid a couple of years ago, but it also seems pretty clear that he’s no longer at the peak of his powers, and MUFC have identified some younger centre-backs as potential replacements.
CaughtOffside understands that Goncalo Inacio, Antonio Silva, Edmond Tapsoba and Marc Guehi are among the names on the club’s list of targets in that area of the pitch, though the preferred option at the top of their list is Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo.
Todibo has long been scouted closely by United, and it’s widely felt that he could soon leave his current club for a new challenge, with Nice likely to ask for around £44million to let him go. Reports have also linked Chelsea with the player, but CaughtOffside‘s sources are not currently aware of anything happening on that front.
United, meanwhile, are continuing to back Ten Hag as manager, with no truth to links with other big names like Zinedine Zidane and Ruben Amorim, while it remains the case that Jadon Sancho is likely to leave Old Trafford in January, though no one has come forward with a concrete approach so far.
Anthony Martial could also leave, depending on offers, but United hope to agree new contracts for Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof, while there is not currently any plan to move Antony on. Marcus Rashford is also fully focused and committed to the club despite recently landing himself in trouble with Ten Hag for attending a birthday party shortly after the defeat in the Manchester Derby.