Chelsea are set to rival Manchester United in the race to sign Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, the Frenchman currently facing an uncertain future in the Spanish capital.
The 27-year-old has developed into one of Europe’s top centre-back’s since his arrival at the Bernabeu from RC Lens in 2011, going on to play a crucial role in Los Blancos’ four Champions League titles since 2014, as well as helping the club to three La Liga titles.
The World Cup winner has formed a superb partnership alongside the enigmatic Sergio Ramos in Madrid, yet both men are currently being linked with an exit from the club.
Veteran defender Ramos has just a few months remaining on his existing deal, while Varane’s contract is due to expire in the summer of 2022, meaning both men could leave the club for free over the course of the next 12 months.
Reports in Spain have suggested that the Varane will be allowed to leave this summer, in order to recoup a hefty transfer fee for one of their prized assets, while also providing vital funds as the club look to fund potential incomings.
According to German publication Bild, (via the Express) Madrid’s upcoming Champions League semi-final opponents, Chelsea, are set to rival fellow Premier League side Manchester United for the defender’s signature.
The Blues are currently in fine form under new boss Thomas Tuchel and have registered 14 clean sheets in the German’s opening 19 games in charge, yet such new-found defensive stubbornness has not quelled suggestions of a new centre-back addition.
While they are well stocked in that department, there is still seemingly a void of a real top-class central defender, with Varane’s signing also potentially allowing Tuchel to revert back to a back-four next season, such is his quality.
As for United, they have long been linked with the defender, even prior to his move to Spain, with the club crying out for a world-class centre-back to partner captain Harry Maguire in the backline, both Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof seemingly not the right fit to slot in alongside the Englishman, despite the latter man’s recent good form.
Although he may well ultimately opt to extend his contract at the Bernabeu, should Varane come available this summer, it has been suggested that Real Madrid would be keen to recoup £60 million.