Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd offer ‘problem player’ to Barcelona for cut-price fee as £169.6m quadruple exit gathers pace

Sir Jim Ratcliffe could look to sell Raphael Varane at Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe could look to sell Raphael Varane at Manchester United

New Manchester United minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly looking to trim the Red Devils squad this month, having offered Raphael Varane – a star allegedly viewed as a ‘problem player to Erik ten Hag – to Barcelona for a mere €20m.

The North-West giants have stumbled from one crisis to another this season as Ten Hag struggles to get any sort of consistency from his expensively-assembled squad. Their run so far of 14 defeats from their 28 matches played represents the worst start made to a season by any Manchester United side since 1930.

While that disastrous run of results has seen them eliminated in humiliating fashion from both the Champions League and the Carabao Cup, United can still salvage the wreckage of their season by winning the FA Cup – a campaign that starts on Monday against League One Wigan – and securing a top-four finish in the Premier League.

In order to achieve both, Ten Hag will need to get a serious upturn from his players, while at the same time proving to Ratcliffe that he remains the right man at the Manchester United helm.

To that end, reports have claimed the Dutchman is a man under serious pressure with David Ornstein even presenting a situation whereby Ten Hag may end up resigning from the United hotseat.

With Ten Hag though looking to prove his worth, it’s suggested the United boss wants to use the upcoming window to remove a series of players he either no longer trusts, feel they have too big an ego or are simply no longer wanted.

To kick things off, we revealed on Friday that the loan move of Jadon Sancho back to Borussia Dortmund remains very much remains on course.

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Varane offered to Barcelona – with three more set to leave

While the exit of Sancho will only be on a temporary basis, the £73m star will be the first out of the door in what could be quite a brutal month for the club, in terms of getting costly stars off their wage bill.

And reports in Spain claim he will likely soon be followed out the exit door by Varane, with Ratcliffe having offered the player to Barcelona for just €20m (£17m).

Per the report, it’s alleged that Ten Hag views the World Cup winner as a ‘problem player’ with Varane neither in his long-term plans and with his alleged £340,000 a week wages ‘burdening’ the club.

They claim the 30-year-old defender, who cost United £34m from Real Madrid in 2021, has been offered to Barca after Real Madrid president Florentino Perez closed the door on the possibility of re-signing his former star.

Whether a move to Barcelona becomes a reality or not remains to be seen, however, it’s also reported that both Bayern Munich – despite a recent agreement to sign Eric Dier – and Varane’s former club Lens, who do apparently have the finaces to sign him, both remain possible options.

Discussing why a move to Lens could be an option, French football expert Jonathan Johnson told Caught Offside this week that a return to Ligue 1 may well prove the most viable option.

Johnson wrote: “For the long term, there have been links with Saudi Arabia, but one to keep on sooner rather than later could also be his former club Lens.

“He’s not someone who really strikes me as a player who’s going to look to have a really long career, and so it wouldn’t surprise me if he wanted to finish his career off where it started at Lens.

“At this moment in time, Lens are doing well, and they’re in a financial position to put something tempting in front of Varane.”

Clubs queue up to sign Anthony Martial

Another costly United recruit in Anthony Martial is also attracting strong interest despite Ten Hag’s recent admission that United are in talks over an extension of his deal.

However, that move is seen as merely a method of maintaining the valuation of a star, who is now into his ninth season at Old Trafford, having cost £57.6m from Monaco way back in 2015.

Martial, though, has rarely hit the heights at United and has disappointed with just two goals in 19 appearances, together with his nine from 29 games last season.

As a result, Ten Hag knows he needs far better if United are to reach the next level.

While the likes of Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid have been touted as possible transfer options, a report on Friday revealed Fenebahce, as well as clubs in the Saudi Pro-League are also expressing an interest in signing the 28-year-old Frenchman.

The final player set to leave United this month isleft-back Alvaro Fernandez, who is reportedly the subject of an approach from Benfica.

He moved to United in 2020, signing a deal after being lured away from Real Madrid’s academy and for a mere €7m (£5m) fee.

The defender is currently halfway through a season’s loan with LaLiga side Granada, with United needing to recall the player in order to finalise his sale.

But having spent last season in the Championship with Preston North End, the player does not figure in United’s plans with Record and A Bola now claiming a €7m deal to take him to Portugal is on the cards.

The exit of all four players will see £169.6m worth of signings depart this month, further trimming Ten Hag’s squad.

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