Man Utd: Raphael Varane backed to join Premier League rivals in surprise free transfer | Football | Sport


Chelsea have been backed to make a surprise move for Manchester United defender Raphael Varane in the summer transfer window. The experienced Frenchman looks set to become available on a free transfer when his contract expires in July, and Glen Johnson believes his former club should be all over it.

Varane has rarely disappointed across his 93 appearances for United since joining in a £34million deal from Real Madrid in the summer of 2021.

However, his injury record has plagued his time at Old Trafford, and it has limited him to just 16 Premier League appearances this season.

Varane, who turns 31 this month, is one of the competition’s highest earners, pocketing around £340,000 a week.

But there is almost no chance United will agree to extend his current terms, and any new contract would have to involve a pay cut to more accurately represent his role.

With less than three months of his current deal remaining, the little noise surrounding his status suggests that the Red Devils are preparing to wave goodbye this summer.

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And Johnson is convinced Varane would represent a shrewd bit of business for Chelsea if they could convince him to land at Stamford Bridge.

“Good players like that don’t come around often, and they certainly come around less often on a free transfer. I know he’s not the Varane he was three or four years ago, but he’s still a bloody good player,” Johnson told Betfred.

“Yes, he’s had his injury problems, but that’s what outweighs the transfer fee. If you’re buying him on a free and he’s only playing 40 per cent of the games, then that’s still a good deal to do.

“As we saw with Thiago Silva, those sort of players who have done everything, played for top teams and clubs, they get the attention of the dressing room.

“They’re the big names that the younger players want to look up to, and obviously, they’re great to have around.

“If you have got a chance with Varane on a free transfer and he’s only going to play 50 per cent of the games, I still think it’s a good deal.”

Chelsea are expected to prioritise signing a new striker this summer to provide Nicolas Jackson with competition amid Christopher Nkunku’s relentless injury woes.

But Varane’s impending availability would open up an interesting transfer opportunity for many clubs around Europe. Mauricio Pochettino may consider adding that extra bit of experience to his young dressing room.

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