By their nature, Europe's elite clubs tend to find themselves doing business with one another on a frequent basis, a number among which Chelsea can count themselves.
In this week's round-up of the latest Blues rumours, the west London outfit find themselves tied with Real Madrid, players both coming in and out of Stamford Bridge sharing links with the Bernabeu.
Jose Mourinho's summer project is nearing its completion as the end of the summer transfer window rolls within sight, but the standard of star on the Portuguese's radar is by no means slipping.
Mourinho has already acquired an up-and-coming centre-back talent this year in the form of Kurt Zouma, but rumour dictates that a move for Raphael Varane may still be made possible.
Mourinho is eager to reunite with his former Real Madrid charge as the manager seeks out the long-term successor to John Terry, and The Times' Gary Jacob (h/t 101GreatGoals) says Chelsea are hoping a player-plus-cash deal will convince Los Blancos.
Earlier this year, Mourinho hailed the ability of the French international, per Yahoo (h/t Sky Sports):
I think he is the best young central defender in the world. Already I think he's the best. A young player must be somebody who plays in the World Cup for the first time. These are players like Hazard, Neymar and Rafa Varane. Maybe I forget some others.
Jacob writes that Chelsea are offering Petr Cech in part-exchange, considering they're already at the maximum of 17 foreign players over the age of 21 and will have to sell before they can bring in any more.
However, Real already have an awkward rotation between Iker Casillas, Diego Lopez and the newly arrived Keylor Navas, meaning the Spaniards will surely have to sell one before they can bring in such a stellar goalkeeping talent.
The Mirror's Martin Lipton says Chelsea aren't looking for central defenders, but would nevertheless be interested if a deal for Varane could be sanctioned:
@Sashinho_10 Not looking for one (unless Varane suddenly available cheap)— Martin Lipton (@MartinLipton) July 29, 2014
Meanwhile, ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson talks up the Frenchman's ability, pushing the notion that Varane may not be happy at the Bernabeu:
Anyway, thinking aloud. Varane will be one of world's best CB's in next few years (if not already). PSG should have snared him when at Lens.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) July 24, 2014
If true that Varane is a bit disgruntled at Real, that is something I think PSG should consider when planning future moves. Would be immense— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) July 24, 2014
Thibaut Courtois may take the No. 1 jersey at Stamford Bridge this season, meaning Cech's place in the squad would no longer be guaranteed.
However, the Blues would be letting go of a loyal Premier League servant if they were to sell, and as OptaJoe indicates, his statistics have been consistent throughout the years:
158 - Petr Cech has 158 PL clean sheets. He played less than 90 mins in 3 other games that Chelsea kept clean sheet & don't count. Explained— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 8, 2014
With Mourinho's back against the wall in terms of those foreign moves he can now make, it's a question of where the club's priorities lie when restrengthening, with Varane the latest on the wishlist.
If Chelsea are to complete a move for Sami Khedira this summer, their chances look to have improved dramatically after Arsenal effectively declared themselves out of the race.
David Wright of the Express quotes Arsene Wenger in stating that his club were never looking to sign the German international:
I don’t know who has put him on the market. Whether it is his agent, or somebody else I don’t know. We were never close to signing him. Jack Wilshere has come back fit and in midfield we have offensive midfielders, we have box-to-box players, we have quite a few.
Wright's report mentions Chelsea as an interested party, and while the likes of Nemanja Matic, Ramires and John Obi Mikel already sit as similar assets in the Blues squad, Mourinho may yet seek out a reunion of a different kind.
Spanish journalist Guillem Balague attests that the figures simply didn't match up in Arsenal's case:
Khedira: Arsenal made no offer whatsover to Real. No wage agreement as he is far too expensive. He has no intention (as yet) to reduce wages— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 8, 2014
Chelsea wouldn't be quite as restricted in terms of the figures they can afford to offer, but Financial Fair Play dictates that a more considerate eye now be given toward spending in excess.