Manchester United lose Raphael Varane for a few weeks with groin injury

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Watford

Raphael Varane of France sits on the ground after suffering an injury in the  Uefa Nations League Final against Spain at San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Raphael Varane of France sits on the ground after suffering an injury in the Uefa Nations League Final against Spain at San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

 

Raphael Varane has added to Manchester United’s defensive problems after he was ruled out for “a few weeks” with a groin injury.

The centre back, a €40 million summer signing from Real Madrid, sustained the problem in the first half of France’s Nations Cup final victory over Spain on Sunday.

“Raphael Varane sustained a groin muscle injury in the Uefa Nations League final and has commenced rehabilitation at the club,” said a United statement. “He will be out for a few weeks.”

With Harry Maguire also out with a calf problem, Varane’s injury leaves manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer without his two first-choice centre backs.

His remaining options are Victor Lindelof and either Eric Bailly, whose one appearance this season came in the Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham last month, or Phil Jones, who has not played since January 2020 due to a knee injury but was in the squad for the Hammers game.

Solskjaer could also utilise midfielder Scott McTominay at centre back, a role he has performed for Scotland, or opt to switch to a back three and move Luke Shaw into a more central position.

After Leicester, United face Atalanta at home in the Champions League before fixtures against arch-rivals Liverpool and Tottenham before the end of the month.

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota is a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Watford after he was sent home early from international duty.

The 24-year-old returned to Merseyside before Portugal’s World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg on Tuesday having not trained with the squad since being left out of the weekend friendly win over Qatar due to a muscle injury.

Diogo Jota was dismissed by the national team manager Fernando Santos, after being considered unavailable by the FPF Health and Performance Unit to face Luxembourg, in a meeting to be held this Tuesday,” said a statement from the Portuguese Football Federation.

“The Liverpool player, who has already left the stage of the national team, has done conditioning work since the beginning of the international break, having also missed the match against Qatar.”

Liverpool’s match at Vicarage Road could also see them line up without goalkeeper Alisson Becker and midfielder Fabinho as they are not due to arrive back in England from Brazil duty until late on Friday. Alisson’s absence would likely see Caoimhín Kelleher take over in goal.

Manager Jürgen Klopp has had some good news on the selection front with Trent Alexander-Arnold returning to training.

The England right back missed the last two matches with a groin problem but was pictured at the club’s training base working alongside members of the first-team squad who are not on international duty.

However, midfielder Thiago Alcantara – out since September 18th with a calf injury – was not pictured in the workout.

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