Manchester United are looking to offload star defender Raphael Varane in the current winter transfer window.
Back in the summer of 2021, the Red Devils splashed £34million to sign Raphael Varane from Real Madrid, and it was one of the top Premier League transfers in 2021. The Frenchman was one of the best centre-backs in the world when he moved to Old Trafford. However, his stint with Manchester United has been underwhelming, to say the least, failing to live up to the lofty expectations due to a series of injuries.
Varane, 30, has fallen the defensive pecking order under Erik ten Hag this season and enjoyed limited playing time in the first XI. The 2018 World Cup winner is out of contract at the end of the season and the club have already decided to not activate an option in his deal to extend that by a further year.
The January transfer window represents Man United’s final chance to get a decent transfer fee for the 30-year-old’s services. The Mancunian giants are reportedly open to the French defender leaving this month as he is seemingly not in the long-term plans of Erik ten Hag.
If Varane is to leave amid interest from two Saudi clubs, here are three players Man United could consider signing as his replacement.
#Jean-Clair Todibo (OGC Nice)
OGC Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo has been heavily linked with a move to Man United in recent weeks and months.
One of the most highly sought-after defenders in the world right now, Todibo, 24, has starred for Nice this season, helping his club challenge for the Ligue 1 title. Nice sit just five points behind table-toppers Paris Saint-Germain, with the Frenchman producing impressive displays from the heart of their defence.
The ex-Barcelona man would be a brilliant option for Man United due to his pace, physicality and ball-playing skills, making him an ideal long-term replacement for Varane.
#Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta)
Atalanta defender Giorgio Scalvini has enjoyed a meteoric rise in stock in the last 12-15 months. He made his senior-team debut for Atalanta at the age of just 17 and has not looked back ever since, racking up 74 appearances. The youngster is also a fixture in the Italy national team.
The highly-rated Italian defender’s development hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Man United recently sending scouts to track him. The United scouts were present at Stadio Olimpico to watch Scalvini in action against Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma. The game ended in a 1-1 stalemate on Sunday.
At 20, Scalvini fits the profile of a top young defensive prospect, who if signed, could be a fantastic replacement for Varane.
#Antonio Silva (SL Benfica)
Antonio Silva is one of the biggest talents in the game and already has seven caps for Portugal after his rapid rise with SL Benfica. The youngster enjoyed his breakthrough campaign at Benfica last term, where he racked up 44 appearances across all competitions and helped his club win the league title for the first time in four years.
Silva, 20, has been solid for Benfica this season as well, scoring once in 24 appearances. Due to him being right-footed, Silva could be the perfect partner for Lisandro Martinez and bring balance to Man United’s defence. Ten Hag prefers to have a combination of left and right-footed centre-backs as this offers more fluidity to their tackling and also passing angles from defence.
Varane is edging closer to exit, so it becomes a need for the Red Devils to sign a right-footed centre-back, which makes Silva a viable option to consider. However, the Premier League giants will need to pay the Portuguese defender’s full £87m release clause in his current contract, which expires in 2027.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.