It’s the relentless reality of being at a club that expects to fight for titles nationally and in Europe. There is always someone who will look for you and you cannot rest on your laurels. Downgrading is only ever one window away.
It is probably easier to accept in advanced areas. Sancho will come in as a starter for United and it might mean less playing time for Mason Greenwood to start, but rotation is a regular phenomenon in attack and substitutes tend to affect the bottom third of the pitch.
This is not the case in defense. Rotation is rarer at the rear and substitutions even rarer. If Varane arrives, it will be extremely difficult to break a couple of center-backs from the French international and Harry Maguire. With United back in the Champions League, there won’t be a Europa League game on Thursday night to turn to, which could make domestic cup games the likely target for those on the sidelines.
With Axel Tuanzebe set to leave Old Trafford this summer, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly will be the third and fourth center-backs of choice. He’s a serious force deep down at United, but it will also be a challenge to keep them happy.
Lindelof had two good seasons as a regular alongside Maguire, but will lose his place in favor of Varane. He never quite established himself as unconquerable, but at the same time he was genuinely reliable and he showed his quality during Euro 2020, where he defended with determination and determination for Sweden.
Lindelof’s reaction to being suddenly sent off could condition United’s next move. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men’s management is one of his strengths at United, but it’s hard to see how he can keep Lindelof and Bailly happy.
Bailly played more regularly last season, starting 19 games in all competitions, and he signed a new contract in April, but ahead of the Europa League final he admitted that didn’t mean he was definitely going to stay at the club until June 2024 and that his future depended on playing regularly.
“The competition is always good to improve,” he said. Time. “I’m just saying I want to stay in case I get a chance to play. I don’t want to be a starter for one game and a substitute for five others. If this happens, I will have to look for another solution.
“The new contract is good, but if I don’t play, I will be open to other proposals. “
If Bailly wasn’t in love with being a third-choice center-back, Varane’s signing is unlikely to improve his mood. Liverpool’s struggles last season showed the value of having depth at the back and a quarterback from Maguire, Varane, Lindelof and Bailly would be as strong as any unit in the Premier League, but keeping those two last happy will be a challenge for Solskjaer.
Who responds best to the competition could well condition whether one or the other is moved over the next 12 months, with Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi likely to push for squad spots next summer.