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Marseille 'join race for Manchester United's Raphael Varane'

Marseille 'join race for Man United's Raphael Varane'
© Reuters
Marseille are reportedly plotting a move for Manchester United defender Raphael Varane, although the Frenchman is said to want to stay put at Old Trafford past January.

Marseille are reportedly interested in signing Manchester United centre-back Raphael Varane during the upcoming January transfer window.

The 30-year-old made the high-profile switch from Real Madrid to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021, a time in which Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho also joined the Red Devils.

Varane has since made 75 appearances across all competitions for Man United - scoring twice - and helped Erik ten Hag's men to an EFL Cup success in the 2022-23 season.

The defender was a stalwart for his national side before retiring from international football in March 2023, making up part of the France team which lifted the World Cup in 2018.

According to French news outlet Foot01, Marseille have included Manchester United man Varane on a shortlist of possible incomings during the New Year.

Raphael Varane celebrates scoring for Manchester United on August 14, 2023© Reuters

Under the stewardship of Italian Gennaro Gattuso, OM are attempting to bring themselves back up towards the top three of the Ligue 1 standings, with Les Olympiens currently in ninth place.

The report claims that Marseille are looking to recruit a high-quality central defender in the January transfer window, with Varane being of particular interest.

It is also understood that Gattuso's men have shortlisted Napoli defender Leo Ostigard as a potential incoming, with the 24-year-old continuing to impress in Naples this term.

The former Brighton & Hove Albion man played a fleeting role in Napoli's Serie A triumph last campaign under Luciano Spalletti, featuring in seven league matches as they won the club's first Scudetto of the 21st century.

As for Varane, the ex-Real Madrid defender has appeared eight times in the Premier League for Man United this term, scoring his only goal in the 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in August.

Manchester United's Raphael Varane heads at goal against Crystal Palace on September 30, 2023© Reuters

Despite the serious interest from Marseille, it is believed that the Frenchman would prefer to stay put at Old Trafford past the conclusion of the January window.

Varane's contract on the red side of Manchester expires at the conclusion of the 2024-25 campaign, meaning that the Red Devils are in no immediate hurry to offload the centre-back for a transfer fee.

Ten Hag picked a defensive partnership of Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire over Varane for United's 1-0 loss at Eddie Howe's Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday night.

Nevertheless, the defender is reportedly determined to regain the favour of the Dutch head coach and become a first-team regular at Old Trafford once again.

Manchester United host Chelsea on Wednesday evening before relegation-threatened Bournemouth come to town on Saturday, so Varane could be handed a start in one of those contests should Ten Hag opt to rotate his XI.

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Manchester United defender Raphael Varane on August 14, 2023
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