Raphael Varane and the Other Defenders to Replace David Luiz at Chelsea

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2014

Raphael Varane and the Other Defenders to Replace David Luiz at Chelsea

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    Chelsea confirmed on the club's official website last week that Brazilian defender David Luiz is set to join Paris Saint-Germain.

    It means a space is now vacant in the Blues' back line, leaving Jose Mourinho with a dilemma: Does he promote from within or look to reinvest some of the reported £50 million transfer fee, per The Guardian, from the sale of Luiz?

    Either way, Luiz needs replacing, so Bleacher Report identifies some players who could possibly step into the Brazilian's boots at Stamford Bridge.

Raphael Varane

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    Fresh from lifting the Champions League with Real Madrid on Saturday, Raphael Varane's name hasn't left the back pages.

    The French youngster put in an excellent display as Real went on to defeat city rivals Atletico Madrid 4-1 in Lisbon to lift the trophy.

    Jose Mourinho signed him during his time at the Bernabeu and, according to Metro, is now interested in bringing him to west London.

    Varane fits the bill of what Chelsea are looking to build. He's young, up and coming, but above all else he now has a Champions League winners' medal to add to his growing collection of silverware.

    Given his rise, it's difficult to imagine Chelsea will not have to use all their negotiating nous to force through a deal for Varane, however.

    That said, the Blues have sold three players—David Luiz, Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne—for a combined £103 million since January, so they clearly have a few aces up their sleeve these days when it comes to transfers.

Tomas Kalas

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    It's not just about who Chelsea can sign this summer to replace David Luiz as the Blues have a group of fine young talent coming through the ranks, starting with Tomas Kalas.

    The Czech appeared mainly as a substitute throughout 2013-14, but when he made his full debut against Liverpool in a 2-0 win at Anfield in April, we were left wondering why it had taken him so long.

    Kalas looked accomplished that day. Sure, there were a few nervous touches to begin with, but as he settled, he showed just why he is so highly rated at Stamford Bridge.

    He's been patient in waiting for his chance to impress, spending two seasons on loan at Vitesse Arnhem in Holland's Eredivisie.

    He was one of Chelsea's four main centre-backs last term and given how he has performed in his first two outings—he was also a starter against Cardiff City on the final day of the campaign—Kalas deserves a promotion to become first-choice behind Gary Cahill and John Terry.

Andreas Christensen

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    Were Tomas Kalas to be given a promotion and become Chelsea's third-choice centre-back, it would open up a space for one of the Blues' less experienced hopefuls.

    Andreas Christensen is a player who has been grabbing plenty of attention on the back of his FA Youth Cup exploits, helping Chelsea to lift the trophy last season for the third time in five years.

    The young Dane has not long turned 18, but he certainly appears to have all the attributes to make it at the highest level.

    It seems a matter of when, not if, he will become a star and if he's given an opportunity next season, his time may come quicker than many think.

Kurt Zouma

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    Given he was shipped out on loan after Chelsea signed him, Kurt Zouma's transfer in January went almost unnoticed.

    The Blues snapped up the 19-year-old from Saint-Etienne, where he spent the remainder of 2013-14.

    He has come through the youth ranks with Les Verts, establishing himself as a key player in the Ligue 1 side's backline.

    At such a young age, experience is always vital and given he has been a regular at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for the past couple of seasons, Zouma has a head start on many of his peers.

    He may not be ready to switch roles in the Chelsea defence, but his experience to date marks Zouma out as a squad player heading into 2014-15.

    Jose Mourinho will like his physicality, but Zouma is equally as talented in the more tactical aspects of the game and will slot in well as cover for Gary Cahill and John Terry.

    The latter doesn't have much longer left in his career, so allowing the likes of Zouma to gain more experience at Stamford Bridge will only serve Chelsea well when the time comes and they have to replace their captain permanently.

Mats Hummels

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    Michael Probst/Associated Press

    If Chelsea aren't looking to replace David Luiz with one of their many youngsters, they could do worse than splash a little of that reported £50 million fee on a player of Mats Hummels' talents.

    Borussia Dortmund have grown used to being raided for their top stars in recent seasons, so they would put up a big fight to keep Hummels at the Westfalenstadion.

    It would possibly cost the Blues all of the cash they receive from Paris Saint-Germain, but at 25 years old, the former Bayern Munich reject is entering his prime and is ready made for regular first-team football in the Premier League.

    Of all those featuring on this list, Hummels would be the long shot, yet stranger things have happened in sport and with the lure of potential Champions League success, coupled with a significant wage rise, the German's desires may well be swayed.

    Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes