World Football

Chelsea Transfer News: Shock Raphael Varane Approach Plotted by Jose Mourinho

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 24:  Raphael Varane of Real Madrid applauds during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio da Luz on May 24, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2014

Jose Mourinho is looking toward Raphael Varane, his former player at Real Madrid, to replace the outgoing David Luiz at Chelsea, according to reports.

The Portuguese boss is said to be "making ambitious moves" to land the youngster who recently helped los Blancos to Champions League glory, as reported by John Cross of the Mirror:

Mourinho believes Varane would be a perfect replacement for David Luiz and Chelsea representatives have made overtures to Madrid to see if they would be prepared to sell.

Varane would be Mourinho’s first choice while Porto's Eliaquim Mangala – a target for Manchester City – and Roma’s Mehdi Benatia are also on their radar.

Mourinho may face a difficult task convincing the Bernabeu club to sell. Back in 2011, Zinedine Zidane indicated Varane "has an incredible future ahead of him," suggesting he is wanted in the Spanish capital for a long time.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 02:  Head coach Jose Mourinho (R) and Real madrid player Raphael varane prior to start a press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal match between Real Madrid and Galatasaray AS at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Ap
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Drafted into the Champions League final team after Pepe struggled for fitness, Varane's performance was extremely assured. Beyond Atletico Madrid's goal—which saw Sami Khedira beaten in the air before Iker Casillas' positioning mistake let the ball bounce in—Varane's only disappointing part of the night came when he appeared to goad the opposition's bench, per Luke Augustus of the Daily Mail:

The incident came amidst Los Blancos' celebrations when Varane kicked the ball in the Atletico manager's direction.

Varane's actions were much to the disdain of (Diego) Simeone who booted the ball back towards the France international before running onto the pitch to confront him.

While such an occurrence can be marked down as immaturity—Real leaders such as Sergio Ramos appeared to quickly scold their teammate—Varane undoubtedly has the talent to develop into one of the world's top centre-backs. 

At 21, he is understandably struggling to maintain a place in the first XI. Both Ramos and Pepe played excellently throughout the 2013-14 campaign, allowing little chance for their partnership to be broken up. But when Pepe was forced to sit out in one of the club's most important fixtures, Varane underlined his quality.

The Frenchman mirrors Luiz's game in some aspects, too. He likes to pass the ball and is adept at dribbling, although he currently lacks the ambition of the £50 million Paris Saint-Germain defender, per Joe Hare of the Telegraph. Varane can move forward into defensive midfield if needed, a tactical change that is rarely needed at Real.

TERESOPOLIS, BRAZIL - MAY 26: Handout picture released by the Brazilian Football Confederation, showing Brazilian national football team player David Luiz, undergoing a medical check-up, at the squad's Granja Comary training complex, in Teresopolis, 90 km
Handout/Getty Images

Chelsea have already acquired 19-year-old Kurt Zouma from Saint-Etienne, another youngster who is expected to enjoy a bright future. Alongside Varane—a player he is likely to establish a partnership with in France's first team—great things are possible. Both need to work on their ability to halt attacks, but at this stage, their potential is clear.

Mourinho's first-era Chelsea team were defined by their toughness at the back, as John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho provided an intimidating base. Varane and Zouma are built to do the same, but there's no denying the Blues boss will face a tricky task when trying to prise the former free.

Madrid will not want to entertain offers for an individual who is expected to permanently fill the shoes of a 31-year-old Pepe. Still, with Luiz's hefty sum in the bag, Mourinho is more than capable of trying.

 

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