Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand: Raphael Varane is a rabbit in the highlights at Man United

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Manchester United legendary defender, Rio Ferdinand has insisted that Raphael Varane has failed to deliver a quality performance at the Premier League club.

Rio Ferdinand: Varane is a rabbit in the highlights
Rio Ferdinand during his time as a Manchester United player

According to Ferdinand, Varane is “a rabbit in the headlights” at Manchester United. But he believes that the new manager Erik ten Hag will change things at the club.

Raphael Varane joined Manchester United from Real Madrid in 2021 after winning 4 UEFA Champions League titles at the Spanish club.

But the World Cup winner struggled throughout his first season at Old Trafford and Ferdinand believes he would be asking himself why he joined Manchester United.

The Red Devils had a bad 2021/22 season as they finished 6th meaning that they won’t play Champions League football next season. Rio Ferdinand while speaking on his Vibe With Five YouTube channel was asked whether Varane had struggled at Manchester United.

The Englishman responded: “He went from one team – the honors there tell you it was a functioning team at the top level, all players playing to their maximum consistently – and went into an absolute reverse situation where the team has zero functionality, no confidence, no guidance and no structure of where they’re going.

Varane is a rabbit in the highlights
Raphael Varane

“He went into an alien scenario where he’s going – ‘I have not seen this since youth team football’. To go from that world-class operating and culture and standard on a daily basis to what is at Manchester United is a huge, huge shift.

“He’s probably sitting there like a rabbit in the headlights thinking ‘wow, what is this?’ He hasn’t been the player we expected… he would tell you that, he couldn’t tell you anything else. He’ll be saying ‘I’ve got to up the levels next year. I need help’.”

Manchester United conceded 57 times in 38 Premier League games last season. This is a team that started the season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but finished with Ralf Rangnick in charge having a goal difference of zero.

The only team in the top half of the table that conceded more goals than the Red Devils was Leicester City (59), while Burnley (53) – who were relegated to the Championship – had a superior defensive record than a supposedly star-studded United team.

One of the first orders of business for new coach Erik ten Hag will be to plug those leaks, with the Dutch tactician needing to tighten up at the back while also getting his attacking unit firing.

There have been talks of reinforcement being drafted in under Ten Hag, with Ajax star Jurrien Timber being one of the players on the coach’s wishlist.

Amid that, Ferdinand believes that certain big-money assets at Old Trafford – such as £80 million ($98 million) star Harry Maguire – might be sold this summer to create room for new arrivals.

“We’re talking about the young lad, Timber, at Ajax, a small center-half. I’ll be interested to see what happens with Varane, [Victor] Lindelof and Maguire, and Eric Bailly as well, I think one or two of those will go.” Ferdinand added.

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