TalkSPORT pundit Gabriel Agbonlahor has not held back in his criticism of Raphael Varane following his performance in Manchester United’s 4-3 defeat to FC Copenhagen on Wednesday night.
The Frenchman came on to replace Jonny Evans, who was forced off with an injury just 15 minutes into the game, but the defender put in a disappointing display. Agbonlahor says he was not surprised as the player has been in decline for a while.
“There’s a reason why Varane’s not starting, and Jonny Evans and Maguire are playing. I called it months ago that Varane is not the player that Manchester United fans think he is.”
“He had an amazing career at Real Madrid – Real Madrid don’t let top players go. They let Casemiro and Varane go because they’re not at the top level anymore.”
“Yesterday it showed, he came on, didn’t know where he was. He could have given a penalty away when he came on but Maguire did [instead]. The last goal as well, nowhere to be seen.”
Varane’s decline since arriving at United
Much was expected of the World Cup winner when United paid Real Madrid £34m to sign him in the summer of 2021, on a contract worth £340,000 a week.
However, Varane has been part of a defence that has conceded 116 goals in the Premier League over the course of his time with the club. He has now found himself behind Maguire and Evans in the pecking order.
Varane’s poor fitness record has undoubtedly contributed to his recent struggles
During his two-and-a-half seasons at United, the 30-year-old has picked up nine separate injuries, spending 174 days in total on the treatment table.
This campaign alone, he has sustained a knock that kept him out for a month, as well as being sidelined with illness. You have to think that his injury record has had a significant impact on his form.