Saudi club Al-Ittihad reportedly in ‘preliminary negotiations’ with Manchester United over Raphaël Varane
Is another big European name making the Saudi switch?
Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad are reportedly in “preliminary negotiations” with Manchester United over the potential signing of Raphaël Varane.
Varane has only been at Man United since 2021 and despite being in and out of the side with numerous injury problems during that time, the 30-year-old defender has been one of two first-choice centre-backs under Erik ten Hag and previous manager’s when fit.
The Frenchman also scored United‘s late winner on the opening day of the Premier League season against Wolves and had been looking to focus his efforts on the club after retiring from international football back in February.
However, as per multiple reports abroad, it is said that not only have Al-Ittihad expressed their interest in singing Varane but, according to one Saudi source, “preliminary negotiations” have already started.
According to Saudi journalist Nawaf Oga, not only have early talks between the two clubs already taken place but it is said that Varane supposedly gave “positive indications”.
Were the transfer to be greenlit, it would mark yet another big coup for the Saudi Pro League which has been tapping up top European talents for the past few months, with Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte being one of the latest set to make a move to the Middle East.
On the other hand, multiple sources have also discredited these rumours, with The United Stand informing fans that they understand the links “have no truth to them” and that the player is “happy at Manchester United”.
The claims also come counter to recent reports that Varane wants to continue playing at the highest level possible in Europe for as long as he can, having told GQ back in March that he can only see himself retiring at Real Madrid, Man United or RC Lens, where he started his professional career.
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Nevertheless, now being the wrong side of 30, regularly prone to injuries/fitness problems and plenty of other players even younger than him have seized the highly lucrative opportunity, it would be all that surprising to see him be swayed.
Having recently taken aim at the FA by insisting that “there are too many games, the schedule is overcrowded, and it’s at a dangerous level for players’ physical and mental well-being” — not to mention United being in four competitions this year — he might also be considering his own longevity.
It also goes without saying that the Saudis would be over the moon to have another World Cup winner within their ranks and he would be joining his fellow compatriots Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kanté were he to join Al-Ittihad.
Neither the player nor ten Hag are yet to come out and address the rumours.
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Featured Image — Raphael Varane (via Instagram)