Should Real Madrid Consider Selling Raphael Varane This Summer?

Tim CollinsFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2014

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

Raphael Varane is unhappy, it would seem. Unhappy that getting a game at Real Madrid is rather difficult. And unhappy that his teammates are paid extortionately more money than he is. 

It's understandable, really. Being denied both the playing time and cash you believe you're worth are probably the sort of things that keep a footballer up at night. Kind of like being stuck at the wretched reception desk after graduating with a shiny degree for the rest of us. 

According to Marca, the Frenchman is seeking assurances regarding his role in 2014-15 from Carlo Ancelotti, concerned that Pepe and Sergio Ramos are untouchable in the centre of Los Blancos' defence.

A report from the London Evening Standard has expanded upon the situation, suggesting that Jose Mourinho wants to reunite with Varane—who isn't satisfied with his £25,000-a-week deal at the Bernabeu—by bringing the talented defender to Stamford Bridge to join Chelsea in the Premier League.

It would appear, then, that Ancelotti and Florentino Perez have a decision to make: Increase Varane's involvement and pay cheque or cash in on the France international's potential value.

So which avenue should Real Madrid take? Let's have a look at the scenarios.


Keeping Varane

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 24:  Raphael Varane of Real Madrid celebrates victory with the trophy after 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 Alex Livesey/Ge
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Most of those partial to the world-famous Spanish club would like to see Varane stay at the Bernabeu for one obvious reason: The 21-year-old is perhaps the brightest defensive talent in Europe.

First showcased in Madrid under Mourinho following his switch from Lens in 2011, the Frenchman garnered considerable attention with his serene composure on the ball, speed across the turf and positional awareness, instantly seeing him viewed as the prototypical modern defender.

That perception has only been strengthened by his ascension into the French national team, where he holds down a starting role ahead of vastly more experienced candidates, namely Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny. 

Thus, it's possible that Los Blancos have a star on their hands, capable of being among Europe's leading players at his position across the next decade or more. 

It would seem logical, therefore, for Real Madrid to do everything in their power to retain Varane's services, given Perez's reluctance to invest heavily in defensive assets in the transfer market. 

Of course, the 21-year-old is likely to sit behind Pepe and Ramos while both men remain in Madrid, but that could all change in two summers' time.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - APRIL 16:  Pepe of Real Madrid CF celebrates after winning the Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 16, 2014 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

According to Transfermarkt, Pepe's contract with Real Madrid expires at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, at which point the Portuguese star will be 33 years of age. Unlikely to be offered another long-term deal at the club beyond his current agreement, Pepe could look to grab the last big-money contract of his career by moving elsewhere for 2016-17 and beyond. 

Should he remain in Madrid, Varane, still at just 23, would naturally replace Pepe in such a situation, forming a partnership with Ramos (contracted until 2017, per Transfermarkt) before potentially standing alongside Nacho (recently signed a six-year deal tying him to the club until 2020, per Sky Sports), who, at just 24, is another of Los Blancos' long-term projects. 

All that, of course, hangs on Varane's patience: Is he willing to bide his time for another two seasons?


Cashing In on Varane's Potential Value

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 02:  Raphael Varane (R) of Real Madrid CF heads the ball beside Ragnar Sigurdsson of FC Copenhagen during the UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid CF and FC Copenhagen at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 2, 2013 in M
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

If Real Madrid can't satisfy Varane in the immediate future, the going rate for defenders in the transfer market is likely to bring a smile to Perez's face.

Although Transfermarkt have the Frenchman valued at £22 million, recent transactions would suggest that number is on the conservative side.

Indeed, Barcelona just shelled out £15.8 million for 30-year-old centre-back Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia, per The Independent, also whacking a £40 million release clause on the Frenchman's contract.

Manchester United, too, splurged on a defender this summer, signing Luke Shaw from Southampton for £27 million, according to Sky Sports.

Outdoing them all, Paris Saint-Germain purchased David Luiz from Chelsea for a truly ridiculous sum of £50 million, per Sky Sports, likely leaving Mourinho and Roman Abramovich craving more business with the Parisians. 

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 12:  A dejected David Luiz of Brazil walks off the pitch after a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Third Place Playoff match between Brazil and the Netherlands at Estadio Nacional on July 12, 2014
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

And if the Guardian is to be believed, Manchester City are confident of landing Eliaquim Mangala from Porto for £32 million—a player yet to fully break into the French XI that already contains Varane. 

What figure, then, could Real Madrid's precocious centre-back fetch? Based on the precedents set this summer, what extravagant fee would one of Europe's leading clubs be prepared to spend on one of the sport's most promising defenders?

The possibilities will have Perez rubbing his hands together in anticipation of the offers. And if reinforcements are needed, any fee for Varane would surely cover the cost of Real Sociedad's 23-year-old Inigo Martinez, who has been earmarked as the man to replace any major defensive departures at the Bernabeu. 

All of which leaves Real Madrid with little concern. 

If Varane is content to sit and wait, Perez and Ancelotti have the future cornerstone of Los Blancos' defence already in their possession.

If, however, they're forced to part ways with the 21-year-old, they're extremely unlikely to be disappointed with what they receive in return.