Varane to leave Man Utd at end of season

Raphael Varane

Manchester United defender Raphael Varane will leave the club when his contract runs out at the end of the season.

The 31-year-old joined from Real Madrid in July 2021 for an initial fee of about £34m and has made 93 appearances.

The former France international helped United win the Carabao Cup in 2023 when manager Erik ten Hag's side beat Newcastle United in the final.

"Everybody at United thanks Rapha for his service and wishes him well for the future," said a United statement.

Varane won three La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies in his time at Real Madrid before joining United under then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He won the World Cup with France in 2018 before retiring from international football in February 2023.

The centre-back has been out injured since a 4-3 defeat by Chelsea on 4 April and it remains to be seen if he will be fit for United's final three games of the season.

They play Newcastle United at home on Wednesday before their final league game of the campaign away at Brighton on Sunday.

Ten Hag's side, who are eighth in the Premier League, will then face Manchester City in the the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, 25 May.

"Despite the fact we have had a difficult season, I am very positive for the future," said Varane.

"The new owners are coming with a clear plan and a great strategy.

"I will see you at Old Trafford to say goodbye in the last home game this season. And it's going to be a very emotional day for me, for sure."

'Like United as a whole, Varane failed to match the hype'

Varane was announced to Manchester United fans to some acclaim three years ago.

It was pre-match, before a 5-1 win over Leeds, in a summer that also marked the arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo. It seemed United were ready to really push for the top.

But Varane, like United as a whole, failed to match the hype.

He clearly is a class player. But he didn’t look a good fit for the Premier League.

Varane has started fewer than 60 Premier League games across his three seasons and while his partnership with Lisandro Martinez was the anchor of United’s third-place finish last term, injury to both has robbed the team of continuity and played a significant role in a collapse in form.

United had already decided not to trigger the option of a year’s extension in Varane’s contract but in reality, the former Real Madrid man probably didn’t want to stay on.

With a £34m fee, and top wages, United have spent around £85m on that deal. The reward has not been worth it.

While United will get no fee, Varane's exit does create some wiggle room in profit and sustainability rule terms - as in all likelihood, his replacement will not be a serial Champions League winner from one of the world’s biggest clubs, so their salary will not be as high.