Man Utd star tipped to join Chelsea in ‘good deal’ for Mauricio Pochettino’s side

Joe Williams
Man Utd defender Raphael Varane
Raphael Varane heads the ball during pre-match training.

Former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson thinks Man Utd centre-back Raphael Varane would be a good signing for Chelsea in the summer on a free transfer.

The Red Devils signed Varane from Real Madrid in 2021 but he’s been plagued by injury and poor form and is now set to leave on a free transfer in the summer.

Johnson: Varane is still ‘a bloody good player’

A report in Spain at the end of last month claimed that Man Utd have decided not to renew Varane’s contract at Old Trafford with the former Real Madrid defender free to negotiate a move elsewhere.

And ex-Chelsea and Liverpool right-back Johnson insists Varane is “still a bloody good player” despite only playing in 67 Premier League matches across three seasons.

“Good players like that don’t come around often and they certainly come around less often on a free transfer,” Johnson told Betfred. “I know he’s not the Varane he was three or four years ago but he’s still a bloody good player.

“Yes, he’s had his injury problems but that’s what outweighs the transfer fee – if you’re buying him on a free and he’s only playing 40% of the games, then that’s still a good deal to do.

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“As we saw with Thiago Silva, those sort of players who have done everything, played for top teams and clubs, they get the attention of the dressing room and they’re the big names that the younger players want to look up to and obviously they’re great to have around.

“If you have got a chance with Varane on a free transfer and he’s only going to play 50% of the games, I still think it’s a good deal.”

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Johnson’s comments come after William Gallas told Chelsea to sign Man Utd duo Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, he told Gambling Zone: “Both Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes could be good options for Chelsea.

“Both are quality players. Bruno could definitely be the kind of midfielder who has the quality to play in the number ten role where Chelsea lack strength.

“Chelsea are a team of young players and Bruno Fernandes has the leadership qualities to get through certain periods. He’d be a good signing if the rumours are true.”

When asked whether the potential appointment of Graham Potter would be received badly at Man Utd, Johnson added: “I’m not sure. I don’t think he would excite the fans or the players and that would be my concern. Obviously, he’s a lovely bloke, a fantastic manager and coach, but would he put enough fear into the players to get their attention? I’m not sure and I think the fans would quickly get on his back if things didn’t start well.

“If you’re Graham Potter, then you’re certainly going to want to have a stab at it. I get that it’s a big football club, great individuals and the team should be doing a lot better than they currently are, so if he could get the group together and put his vision together then of course he would eventually win the Manchester United fans over, but i think he would have to start with a bang and come out of the traps, for sure.”

Johnson: Cole Palmer reminds me of Jose Antonio Reyes

When asked if there’s any player past or present that Cole Palmer – who scored a hat-trick in Chelsea’s 6-0 win over Everton on Monday night – reminds him of, Johnson continued: “I’ve said it before, but he reminds me of José Antonio Reyes. He’s super effective and even though he looks slow, nobody can keep up with him. It’s strange, players of that ilk just glide past people without looking like powerful athletes.

“He’s quicker than he looks but he always does the right things with the ball and sometimes he doesn’t need to beat people. He’s so calm, happy to try things and he’s fearless, so for me he reminds me of Reyes because he had all those qualities.”

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