Why Raphael Varane could leave United for nothing at the end of the season

Manchester United's Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire.

Reuters/Matthew Childs

Raphael Varane could depart Manchester United as a free agent at the end of the season.

The Frenchman returned to United’s starting XI against Bayern Munich after spending 11 games on the bench or the sidelines. He raised further questions on Erik ten Hag’s decision-making by delivering a resilient performance to keep the likes of Harry Kane and Leroy Sane at bay.

The United manager has overlooked the four-time Champions League winner for other options in a number of games this season due to tactical reasons. However, his approach didn’t help turn things around and the Red Devils’ backline has continued to concede goals at an alarming rate.

With Harry Maguire now injured, Varane is likely to accumulate more starts during the festive period. However, his long-term future at Old Trafford remains uncertain heading into the winter window.

Raphael Varane’s contract expires in the summer

When United announced Varane’s arrival from Real Madrid, it was publicised that he had signed a contract that would keep him at the club until June 2025.

However, as per The Athletic, the 30-year-old centre-back could become a free agent at the end of the term as his contract is set to expire this summer. There’s the option of an additional year, but whether it will be activated or not remains unclear. It’s claimed that the exact terms of the plus one are unclear.

As things stand, Varane will be free to talk to non-British clubs and sign a pre-contract agreement for a free transfer from January.

United allowed David de Gea to leave for nothing last summer after opting to not activate the one-year extension on his contract, and it’s understood that they plan to do the same with Anthony Martial at the end of the current season.