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RAPHAEL VARANE is set to leave Manchester United – but it won’t be until the summer.

The French defender has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford, and some reports have indicated he could be sold in January.

But SunSport understands Erik ten Hag won’t let the player leave until the end of the season as he plots an assault on the top four.

And, contrary to claims Varane could return to Real Madrid, sources say he is more interested in a move to Italy or Saudi – as part of the latest exodus of superstar players.

Our source said: “The days are numbered for Raphael Varane at Manchester United, and the clock is ticking on his future.

“He started the season as a first team player now he’s fourth choice behind Jonny Evans.

“Leaving suits club and player, but he won’t be going anywhere in January.

“Ten Hag wants to keep the spine of his squad together to give United the best chance of making the top four. But in the summer, United will listen to offers.

“There’s already interest from Saudi Arabia where Varane could pocket a massive uplift in his wages. But he’s also keen on Italy as it’s a league he admires and would love to be a part of.”

The Frenchman has fallen out of favour under Erik ten Hag in recent weeks, losing his place to Evans and Harry Maguire.

Signed from Real Madrid in 2021, the Frenchman was expected to play a key role in United’s quest to reach the top of English football again and formed a decent partnership with Lisandro Martinez last season, only to lose his place in the side despite denying claims that there had been a fallout between himself and Ten Hag.

It is believed he will cost in the region of £17-20million.

Varane is one of United’s highest earners on wages of around £340,000-per-week, behind Marcus Rashford and Casemiro, who has also been linked with a move.

Earlier this month, Ten Hag denied that he and Varane had fallen out after selecting him from the start in just one of United’s last eight games.

The Dutchman claimed: “It is about tactical reasons why I chose these partnerships. I think Harry and Jonny did well.

“What I said last year, Harry didn’t play a lot, so I was very happy with Rapha’s performances. I have always been happy with his performance.”

 

 

 

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