Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Rio Ferdinand claims shocked Raphael Varane could leave Man Utd, amid Ten Hag plan for Timber

Man Utd defenders Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire

Raphael Varane could yet leave Manchester United this summer amid the club’s transfer interest in Jurrien Timber, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Varane looked to be a statement signing for United last summer following his Real Madrid success. He won four Champions League titles among other honours in Spain, making 360 appearances.

The 29-year-old is also a senior France international having earned 86 caps so far.

However, amid a below-par season for Man Utd, Varane struggled to make his mark. He played 29 games overall but struggled with injury problems. And the fact that United conceded their highest amount of goals in a Premier League season stands out on his record too.

Speaking to Vibe with Five, Ferdinand refused to put much of the blame on Varane. The pundit instead insisted that United are to blame as a club for not helping his transition.

“He went from one team – the honours there tell you it was a functioning team at the top level, all players playing to their maximum consistently – and went into an absolute reverse situation where the team has zero functionality, no confidence, no guidance and no structure of where they’re going,” the pundit said.

“He went into an alien scenario where he’s going ‘I have not seen this since youth team football’.

“To go from that world-class operating and culture and standard on a daily basis to what is at Manchester United is a huge, huge shift.

“He’s probably sitting there like a rabbit in the headlights thinking ‘wow, what is this?’ He hasn’t been the player we expected… he would tell you that, he couldn’t tell you anything else. He’ll be saying ‘I’ve got to up the levels next year. I need help.'”

Varane could leave Man Utd – Ferdinand

Man Utd centre-back Raphael Varane

And Ferdinand subsequently claimed that Varane could yet leave Old Trafford this summer.

New United manager Erik ten Hag is looking for a fresh centre-back signing. Ajax’s Jurrien Timber is his top target and despite doubt over whether the Dutchman wants to move to Manchester, Ferdinand still expects changes at the back.

“I’ll be interested to see what Ten Hag does in that area,” he added. “We’re talking about the young lad, Timber, at Ajax, a small centre-half.

“I’ll be interested to see what happens with Varane, [Victor] Lindelof and [Harry] Maguire, [Eric] Bailly as well, I think one or two of those will go.”

Likely Ten Hag scenario

Varane is likely to stay at United as he looks to help take Man Utd back to the Champions League.

Despite his injury problems, Varane and Maguire were the senior pairing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last season.

Both players will want to prove themselves next season. And given their experience, it is highly unlikely Timber will come in and usurp them straight away.

Ruud Gullit warns Jurrien Timber about Manchester United

Ruud Gullit has warned Manchester United target Jurrien Timber about leaving Ajax for United this summer

Ivory Coast international Bailly is instead the centre-back who could leave United. The Jose Mourinho signing struggled with injury at the start of his Old Trafford career.

Bailly was fit for most of last season but only made seven appearances, staying on the bench for 23 matches across the Premier League and Champions League.