Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has blamed the club’s culture and its functionality for Raphael Varane’s below-par debut season at the Old Trafford stadium.
The 29-year-old joined the Red Devils last summer from Real Madrid for a fee of around £35 million. However, the Frenchman has struggled to showcase his best last season due to injury issues, scoring a solitary goal and registering six clean sheets in 29 appearances in all competitions.
Speaking on his YouTube channel Vibe with Five, quoted by 90min, Rio Ferdinand has denounced the Red Devils’ nonfunctional way of running the club and stated that it has restricted Raphael Varane from showcasing his best, given he is used to playing in a side who are well run and a well-structured team. Ferdinand said:
“He went from one team – the honours there tell you it was a functioning team at the top level, all players playing to their maximum consistently – into an absolute reverse situation where the team has zero functionality, no confidence, no guidance and no structure of where they’re going.
“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 were in search of a quick centre-back in order to accommodate Harry Maguire who struggled to play in a high-defensive line due to his lack of recovery pace. Therefore, the Red Devils signed Raphael Varane whose profile matched the criteria that United were looking for.
However, the Frenchman’s fitness issues forced Manchester United to play with Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire at the back for the majority of the last season. So, there is a concern about whether the 29-year-old will be able to overcome his injury problems or not next season.
Varane had to endure an injury stern season before joining Manchester United. And now he has struggled with his fitness issues for the past two campaigns in a row.
Therefore, strengthening the backline will be a shrewd decision by the club’s hierarchy. However, the Red Devils already have six senior centre-backs in their squad and they might struggle to purchase another one without offloading one of them this summer.