Man United will not activate Varane contract extension: source

Manchester United have decided not to activate a one-year extension on Raphaël Varane’s contract, a source has told ESPN.

It means the defender can negotiate with clubs outside the Premier League from January 1 and could potentially leave Old Trafford on a free transfer in the summer.

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Varane is still considered a key part of the team by manager Erik ten Hag, but United are reluctant to activate a one-year option that would keep the 30-year-old on a salary of more than £300k-a-week until June 2025.

The club have not ruled out extending the former France international’s stay, but negotiations over a new contract would likely focus on a performance-related deal.

Varane’s current contract expires in June 2024. The approach is similar to that taken with former goalkeeper David De Gea last season.

United decided not to activate a one-year option on the goalkeeper’s contract and he left the club on a free transfer last summer.

Varane and De Gea were among United’s top earners last season, along with Casemiro and Jadon Sancho.

Marcus Rashford joined them when he signed a new long-term contract in July worth around £315k-a-week. United are willing to activate one-year extensions for Victor Lindelöf and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to keep the pair at Old Trafford until 2025. Their deals would expire next summer.

Anthony Martial is also under contract until the summer, but United have decided not to activate the extension option until 2025. The 28-year-old has scored two goals in 19 appearances this season, but has been absent for the last three weeks.

When asked before the 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest, Ten Hag said the Frenchman was ill.

“He’s not well, he’s not available,” Ten Hag said.

United will return to action against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium in the FA Cup third round on January 8.

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