Manchester United could soon find themselves with a solution to their Raphael Varane problem thanks to an offer from Thomas Tuchel, who hopes Erik ten Hag also does him a favour in return by signing a Bayern Munich star as part of a swap.
The World Cup winning defender has found himself benched by Manchester United in recent weeks, having seemingly fallen down the pecking order under Erik ten Hag. Initially losing his place through injury, Varane now finds himself behind the rejuvenated Harry Maguire, veteran Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof in the pecking order.
Clearly unhappy with the situation, it’s been reported that the 30-year-old star is pushing to leave Old Trafford if it’s clear he’s not wanted and no longer valued by the United manager.
To that end, we exclusively revealed that Varane is mulling over his future and seeing what options present themselves to him ahead of the January window opening for business. To that end, a move away from Old Trafford now looks very much to be on the cards.
As it stands, it’s reported that some clubs in Saudi Arabia are expressing an interest in acquiring Varane’s services.
However, given his age, the defender is understood to be keen on remaining in elite-level European competition, with Bayern Munich also reportedly very much keen on landing the four-times Champions League winner.
Now, according to BILD, Bayern are ready to step up their approach to take Varane off United’s hands ahead of the January window.
But rather than proposing a straight cash offer, it’s reported that Bayern boss Tuchel wants to organise a high-profile swap deal between the two clubs.
Man Utd to receive Thomas Muller, Raphael Varane swap offer
Varane is one of United’s top earners, currently on a package worth £300,000 a week.
That salary, together with a fairly sizeable transfer fee – United are reportedly seeking between €20m and €30m (£17.4m to £26.1m) for a player who still has just over 18 months left on his deal – would make a deal difficult for Bayern to pull off.
However, in an effort to bring their outlay down, BILD reports Tuchel is proposing a straight swap deal that would see unwanted forward Thomas Muller move to Old Trafford in a swap deal for Varane.
As it stands, United are reportedly cold on the idea of signing Muller.
Despite twice previously trying to sign the 253-goal forward, they have learned the hard way over recent years that buying big-money and established stars in the twilight of their careers has not gone to plan.
Radamel Falcao, Alexis Sanchez, Bastian Schweinsteiger and more recently Casemiro – a signing for which incoming new investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe is thought to be critical of – are strong cases in point.
However, it’s reported that to rid themselves of their Varane problem – the former Real Madrid man is seen by Ratcliffe as being too expensive a player to only be stuck on their bench – United may need to perform a U-turn on their initial scepticism and agree to the high-stakes swap.
Muller, for his part, is also on hefty wages at Bayern, but has also found himself sidelined after the arrival of Harry Kane, and with a selection of Leroy Sane, Eric Choupo-Moting, Jamal Musiala, Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry used in the positions behind the England captain.
Bayern star could provide a short-term fix at Man Utd
As a result, and with the player out of contract come the summer, Bayern have reportedly asked United again about taking Muller off their hands in part payment for Varane.
Although Muller has made 14 appearances this season, he has clocked up less than 400 combined minutes in the Bundesliga and Champions League, with his better days very much seen as behind him.
Until Sunday at Everton, however, United’s attackers have largely struggled to score goals this season. And with Anthony Martial potentially nearing the exit door in January – he too is out of contract come the summer – United could see Muller as a short-term replacement and until they’re able to spend big on a long-term replacement.
Now 34, Muller has a wealth of experience behind him and that could be seen as vital for United in the business end of the season.
The player has spent his entire career at the Allianz Arena and is one of the most decorated players in the modern game, having won an astonishing 12 Bundesliga titles among 33 career titles.