Raphael Varane has named the two teams he would consider leaving Manchester United for

The 30-year-old has quite remarkably slipped down the pecking order under Erik ten Hag with the in-form Harry Maguire keeping him out. The 3-2 loss to Galatasaray seemed to be a turning point.

Varane was particularly leaky in that first game of October having been at the back in the 1-0 league defeat to Crystal Palace just days earlier. The only matches he has started since are the Champions League ties with Copenhagen, one of which ended in a defeat and the other a narrow win.

The World Cup winner has been plagued by injuries during his two years at Manchester United. In fact, he has sustained at least eight separate injuries in that time with half of these coming during Ten Hags tenure. In all, hes missed 15 matches under the Dutchman.

So when he was unexpectedly benched against Sheffield United, it was presumed he was being rested ahead of Copenhagen and the subsequent Manchester derby. However, when he was nowhere to be seen in the line-up against Manchester City, the Reds manager said it was down to tactics.

Varane has had to stomach being second-fiddle for the first time in a long time having been a regular at Real Madrid. Even for France he was top choice and sometimes wore the armband before his international retirement.

To give Maguire his credit, he has played quite consistently in recent matches. He has made several important blocks and tackles, and has this week admitted he feels his decision to stay at United beyond the summer has been vindicated.

United do have a longevity issue at centre-back, though. Victor Lindelof is 29, Maguire and Varane are 30 while Jonny Evans is a veteran at 35. One or two may have to be moved on if Ten Hag wants to bring in a fresh face at centre half.

However, Varane has outlined the only set of circumstances that would cause him to mull over an exit, with his contract not expiring until 2025. Speaking to GQ Magazine in March, Varane admitted staying at United for the rest of his career is a serious option.

However, he did leave the door slightly ajar. He added: “I will finish my career either in Madrid, or in Manchester, or in Lens. I will not move to another club [other than those]

“But Madrid seems complicated to me. Players dont usually go back there. The most likely outcome today is that I will finish [my club career] in either Manchester or Lens.”

Lens, of course, is where it all started for Varane, coming through the ranks to play 24 senior games before being snapped up by Madrid in 2011 and staying in Spain for a whole decade.

The French club finished second in Ligue 1 last season and are competing against Arsenal in their Champions League group. A Madrid comeback is unlikely but Lens looks possible.

A return could be a romantic one for a player whose injury record indicates his career may not last as long as he hopes. What Varanes admission does rule out, though, is a move to Saudi Arabia.

There had been tentative Saudi links amid his age and new place in the pecking order, but it seems that is not a destination on his agenda.