In a surprising twist in the ongoing saga of Raphael Varane’s future, reports have emerged that the Manchester United defender is contemplating a return to his old club, Lens. This comes amidst Varane’s growing discontent over limited playing opportunities at United under manager Erik ten Hag.
Despite Varane’s status as a 2018 World Cup winner, he has recently found himself overshadowed at United by Jonny Evans and Harry Maguire in the central defensive roles.
His recent absence in the game against West Ham, reportedly due to illness, only fueled further speculation about his potential departure from Old Trafford. However, it should be noted that Varane was promptly reinstated in the starting lineup for the subsequent match against Aston Villa.
Lens’s manager Franck Haise has commented on the situation, acknowledging the club’s openness to Varane’s return, albeit recognising the complexities involved in such a move.
“If Varane wants to return, we will welcome him with open arms,” Haise expressed to the media last month.
Yet, he also pointed out the complications surrounding Varane’s contract, noting the challenges even for a club like Bayern Munich to meet his salary demands.
The French sports newspaper L’Equipe has indicated that Varane is considering his options outside of Manchester United, with Lens emerging as a viable destination, especially after Real Madrid, another of Varane’s former clubs, reportedly withdrew from the race to sign him.
Varane himself had previously stated his career endgame in an interview back in March. “I will finish my career either in Madrid, or in Manchester, or in Lens. I will not move to another club [other than those].
“But Madrid seems complicated to me. Players don’t usually go back there. The most likely outcome today is that I will finish [my career] in either Manchester or Lens,” he had said.
Before making his name on the global stage, Varane played for Lens during the 2010-11 season, making 24 appearances before being signed by Real Madrid for a fee of £8.6m.