Man Utd: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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Manchester United remain confident they can sign Raphael Varane. While there’s been talk of the France international potentially staying at Real Madrid, noises suggest he’s already decided to move to Old Trafford. And that could have big repercussions for certain members of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad…
Manchester United have admired Varane for over a decade.
Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to acquire the France international back in 2011, believing he’d be the perfect long-term replacement for the ageing and waning Rio Ferdinand at the time.
But United ended up missing out, with Real enticing him to Spain instead.
Since then, their loss has been Los Blancos’ gain with Varane establishing himself as one of the best defenders on the planet.
And while United fans have every right to be enthused about a potential deal, not everybody at Old Trafford will be delighted.
So Express Sport will now take a look at how the roles of Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly may now all change.
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Axel Tuanzebe (from centre-back to right back)
United have been patient with Axel Tuanzebe.
However, even when he’s fully fit, the former Aston Villa loanee will struggle to get a game should Varane join as expected.
Therefore, it’s possible the Red Devils will try and mould the 23-year-old into a right-back instead.
United had been planning to sign Kieran Trippier but that’s now been shelved, with Atletico Madrid demanding £35million for their prized asset.
Tuanzebe has previously played at right-back for the club and that could now become his permanent position, especially given Solskjaer’s determination to keep him around.
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Victor Lindelof (from first choice centre-back to reserve centre-back)
Ever since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho as manager back in December 2018, Victor Lindelof has benefitted.
The Sweden international wasn’t always under a regular under the new Roma boss, often being forced to settle for a place on the bench.
But, under Solskjaer, he’s often been deployed alongside Harry Maguire at the back.
Yet if Varane joins, he won’t be expected to start most matches. Instead, a place on the substitutes bench will lie in wait.
Lindelof will have to work hard to improve to oust either Varane or Maguire, who could form a brilliant partnership at the back given their individual qualities.
Eric Bailly (from third choice to fourth choice)
In May, Eric Bailly signed a new United contract.
However, he only did so because he was given assurances over his game time. With Varane looking poised to join, he may now have to settle for being the club’s fourth choice centre-back.
Maguire, Varane and Lindelof would all be ahead of the Ivory Coast international in the pecking order.
And that’s a hammer blow to Bailly who, at the age of 27, is eager to play regularly.
There’s been talk of a potential return to Villarreal but, instead, it seems far more feasible he’ll stay around until at least January.
Solskjaer opens up on transfer business
United have signed two players so far, in Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton.
And he’s explained his decision to sign Heaton by saying: “Tom is a Manchester United player.
“He’s been here and felt this is coming home and closing the circle. He’s had a very, very good career so far and been a part of the England set-up.
“For him to come in now, taking his challenge, I think is what he needed, that last step now.
“He’s such a top professional and such a top guy to have around and that will help the young lads.”
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