Manchester United announced that Raphael Varane would be sidelined for “a few weeks” after suffering an injury in France’s Nations League final victory.
Dayot Upamecano replaced Varane just before halftime in France’s 2-1 win against Spain.
The center-back collapsed off the ball and was soon removed from the game, with United now admitting he had a groin injury.
“Raphael Varane experienced a groin muscle injury in the Nations League final and has begun therapy at the club,” read a short statement.
“He’ll be out of commission for a few weeks.”
It’s a massive setback for Manchester United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of a potentially critical few weeks.
While it is unclear how many games Varane will miss, the central defender will be out for a significant portion of what appears to be a grueling run of contests.
United will play Leicester City, Atalanta twice, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester City in the following four weeks.
Solskjaer enters the next run under pressure after a very inconsistent start to 2021-22, with only five victories from ten matches across all competitions.
To make matters worse, there was already doubt about the fitness of captain – and Varane’s usual center-back partner – Harry Maguire, who missed the games against Villarreal and Everton owing to a calf injury suffered before the international break that prevented him from joining up with England.
Maguire’s fitness to play old side Leicester at the weekend is unknown, which means that the relatively erratic Eric Bailly and the displaced Victor Lindelof may form an unusual pairing at the back.
Although United has received criticism thus far this season, Varane’s early form has been widely regarded positively. He has played a significant role in getting the team on the front foot, with his 7.6 passes into the final third per 90 minutes, the most among the club’s defenders.