Raphael Varane has added to Manchester United’s defensive problems after the club revealed he would be sidelined for “a few weeks” with a groin injury.
The centre-back, who signed in a £34million deal from Real Madrid over the summer, sustained the problem in the first half of France’s Nations League final victory over Spain on Sunday in what is another significant blow for United.
“Raphael Varane sustained a groin muscle injury in the UEFA Nations League final and has commenced rehabilitation at the club,” said a United statement.
“He will be out for a few weeks.”
With Harry Maguire also out with a calf injury it leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer without his two first-choice centre-backs.
His remaining options are Victor Lindelof and either Eric Bailly. The latter’s only appearance this season came in the Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham last month.
Phil Jones could also come into consideration. However, he has not played for the Red Devils since January 2020 due to a knee injury.
After Leicester, United face Atalanta at home in the Champions League. They then have fixtures against bitter rivals Liverpool and Tottenham before the end of the month.
Leicester star on Man Utd radar
Meanwhile, United could make a move for Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi in the January transfer window, according to reports.
Midfield is a priority area for United to strengthen as they prepare for future transfer opportunities. Their current pairing in a double pivot is Fred and Scott McTominay. They could be upgraded upon, although the club opted not to sign anyone in that position in the summer.
Instead, they will make it one of their primary tasks in 2022 – potentially mid-season in January. To that end, they have already been linked with a wide range of potential options.
Declan Rice remains a major target, for example, although the West Ham man may be too expensive. They were also linked with his England partner Kalvin Phillips, who instead looks set to take the likelier route of signing a new contract with Leeds.
Man Utd are thus broadening their horizons, but could still find another opportunity in the Premier League. After some links with Leicester’s Youri Tielemans, they are now being credited once more with an interest in his teammate, Ndidi.
The Nigeria international was suggested as a United target by Fichajes back in May. Nothing came of the rumour in the summer, but the links have now been revived by the same source.
Ndidi tipped to fill big United hole
Fichajes claim Ndidi is the “clear target” for United to solve the “headaches” that the defensive midfield positions have given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in recent seasons.
In addition, they suggest he could be contemplating his future after Leicester’s indifferent start to the season. Backed by some to kick on from consecutive fifth-place finishes, they have not started the campaign in form that would reflect that.
Should Leicester fail to match their ambition from recent years in the long run, Ndidi may eye progression elsewhere. At the age of 24 (he turns 25 in December), it could be time to make such a leap.