Mourinho will apparently make Varane his "top target" if he succeeds Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, according to Sergio Gomez of Spanish publication AS (h/t Samuel Luckhurst and James Dixon of the Manchester Evening News): "The Frenchman is regarded as one of the top talents in world football with Mourinho a long-term fan of the Frenchman."
The big if here is whether Mourinho will ultimately land the United job. Miguel Delaney of the Independent, as well as Dan Roan and Simon Stone of BBC Sport, reported the Portuguese coach's representatives have been in talks with the Old Trafford club.
Sam Cunningham of the Daily Mail has even stated how Mourinho has told friends he's confident he'll get the job. Given his history with Varane, Mourinho's appointment would at least make a transfer approach likely.
Mourinho worked with Varane during his time in charge at Madrid and was effusive in his praise for the quick and combative young defender back in 2014, per the Sun (h/t Elliott Bretland of MailOnline): "I think he is the best young central defender in the world. Already I think he's the best."
For his part, Varane has previously credited Mourinho with playing a key role in his development. In September 2015, he told French source Le Journal du Dimanche (h/t Mark Critchley of the Independent): "During my second year at Madrid, Jose Mourinho gave me a kick up the backside. I wasn't doing well, I wasn't managing to do what he wanted me to out on the pitch."
Since Mourinho's days in Madrid, Varane has become rather inconsistent. Undoubtedly an awesome physical talent, he is prone to lapses in concentration. Yet the raw attributes of a great defender are still present.
United's squad certainly needs one of those despite the considerable improvement made by Chris Smalling on Van Gaal's watch. But the Red Devils remain vulnerable as long as Daley Blind plays alongside Smalling, even though the former Ajax man is very comfortable in possession.
With Phil Jones seemingly always battling injury woes, United need another quick and powerful centre-back. Pairing Varane and Smalling together would give Mourinho the kind of miserly base all of his successful teams have boasted.
Of course, Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane won't be keen to sell. He's also a great admirer of Varane, with the player once telling French publication L'Equipe (h/t ESPN.co.uk) how Zidane "helped convince" him to move to Spain.
Madrid's defence has also had its issues this season, with Sergio Ramos experiencing injury problems while Pepe appears to have lost a step. Varane could be the key to a vital, long-term revamp at the back for Los Blancos.
His loyalty to both Mourinho and Zidane is sure to be tested if this rumour proves true.
Los Merengues Consider James Rodriguez Summer Sale
Real Madrid will reportedly sell James Rodriguez this summer if the mercurial Colombian attacker's form doesn't improve during the remainder of this season.
Alejandro Alcazar of Sport (h/t Alex Harris of the Daily Star) suggests Madrid might repeat history with their playmaker: "Mesut Ozil was sold to Arsenal after he failed to consistently perform at the Bernabeu and bigwig Florentino Perez is pondering similar action," wrote Harris.
Signed by Los Blancos in 2014, after being one of the stars of that year's FIFA World Cup, Rodriguez has flattered to deceive since moving to the Spanish capital.
Successive coaches, including Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez and now Zidane, have struggled to unleash the former Porto man's obvious talent. Zidane has even reportedly had issues with the player's effort.
He was apparently left unimpressed by Rodriguez's sluggish warm-up as a substitute during a league match against Sporting Gijon, per images from Spanish TV station La Sexta (h/t AS). A report from Spanish source El Confidencial (h/t Metro's George Bellshaw) even stated Madrid informed Rodriguez's agent, Jorge Mendes, they are prepared to sell.
B/R's Sam Tighe notes how there's been "no room" for Rodriguez since Zidane took over:
European Golden Boy XI: Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele Continues to Shine
Can Barcelona Upset the Odds and Overturn the Deficit Against PSG?
Manchester United Perform Better Without Marcus Rashford
European Golden Boy XI: Monaco's Kylian Mbappe Leads the Line
Is Gylfi Sigurdsson the Best Midfielder in the Premier League?
The Beautiful Story Behind One Woman's 'Adam Lallana' Liverpool Tattoo
Can Neymar Become Barcelona's Greatest Ever Brazilian?
Is Gabriel Jesus the Next Michael Owen or the New Federico Macheda?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Passes 20 Goals for 10th Consecutive Season
Cover Your Eyes, Here's Liverpool's Terrible 2017 Record
Cover Your Eyes, Here's Liverpool's Terrible 2017 Record
Is Frank Lampard the Premier League's Greatest Ever Midfielder?
Luis Suarez and Leo Messi's Brilliant Goals vs. Atletico Madrid Animated
Can Gabriel Jesus Turn Manchester City’s Season Around?
Bayern Munich Star Arjen Robben Builds His Perfect Footballer for B/R
Should Manchester United Start Bastian Schweinsteiger Against Hull?
Inside the Premier League Transfer Window
European Golden Boy XI: Federico Chiesa Continues His Fantastic Form
Eden Hazard vs. Philippe Coutinho: Who Would You Want in Your Team?
Gary Lineker Has Spoken About His Hat-Trick in El Clasico, 30 Years on
Liverpool vs. Chelsea Is the Ultimate Away-Day Fixture
European Club Rankings: Chelsea's Second String Show Their Squad Depth
Transfer Deadline Day; Daniel Sturridge Is in Need of a Change of Scenery
Jose Mourinho Is Still the Special One Where Cup Competitions Are Concerned
Will We See the Next Global Superstar at the Otten Cup in August?
Would Marco Reus Be a Fitting Replacement for Sanchez at Arsenal?
Who's Been the Third Best Player in Europe Over the Last 10 Years?
Where Does an Upgraded Old Trafford Rank in the Biggest European Grounds?
What's Wrong with Real Madrid?
Ebbsfleet United Test Out Marco van Basten's Radical Penalty Replacement Idea
Premier League Player Rankings: Alexis Sanchez Rises, Eden Hazard Falls
Granit Xhaka Is Staking His Claim as Europe's Dirtiest Player
Who's Getting Ripped Off in Europe's Elite Transfer Market?
European Golden Boy XI: Pulisic and Chiesa Shine in a Team of Young Stars
Have Chelsea Won the Premier League Already?
Who Is Borussia Dortmund's New Wonderkid Alexander Isak?
Liverpool Are Struggling in January Without Sadio Mane
European Power Rankings: Barcelona Rise Whilst Liverpool Fall
The Story of Chapecoense's Emotional First Match Since Their Fatal Plane Crash
The Stats Behind Wayne Rooney's Record Breaking 250 Goals for Manchester United
Yasin Ben El-Mhanni: the Newcastle Debutant Who's Taught Neymar Skills
Why Manchester City Could Face a 'Kaneing' in Against Tottenham
Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Sergio Aguero: Who Would You Pick?
AFCON’s Oldest Player Essam El-Hadary Is Targeting the 2018 World Cup
Why Sevilla Can Win la Liga
Antonio Valencia Is Manchester United's Secret Weapon
Premier League Team of the Season So Far: Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez Star
European Golden Boy XI: Tom Davies and Gianluigi Donnarumma Steal the Show
Francesco Totti: 25 Calendar Years in the Italian Top Flight
Can Philippe Coutinho Lead Liverpool to the Premier League Title?
Paul Pogba Has Finally Come to Life for Manchester United
Should Your Team Try and Sign West Ham's Dimitri Payet?
Can Manchester United Keep on Winning?
FIFPro World XI vs. Alternative XI: Highlights from Our Pro Evolution Soccer Sim
FIFA Announce New 48-Team Format for 2026 World Cup
Is an Out-of-Form Neymar Letting Down the MSN Trio?
European Club Rankings: Good News for Real Madrid, Bad News for Barcelona
John Obi Mikel Is Moving to China After a Glorious Decade at Chelsea
The Top 6 Premier League Teams Are Making Their Mark Again
January Transfer Window: Where Do Manchester City Need to Strengthen?
Premier League Player Rankings: Man Utd's Ander Herrera on the Rise Again
Dele Alli Is in the Form of His Career, How Far Can He Take It?
AFCON 2017: Who Are the Front-Runners for the Golden Boot?
Zinedine Zidane's Amazing First Year in Charge of Real Madrid
Harry Kane vs. Diego Costa, Who's the Better Talisman?
Is Everton's Romelu Lukaku Headed for His Best-Ever Season?
Why Tomas Rincon Is a Sneaky Smart Signing for Juventus
Which Premier League Clubs Will the Africa Cup of Nations Hurt the Most?
Should Arsenal Place More Trust in Olivier Giroud?
World Football Big Predictions 2017: Who Will Win the Premier League Title?
World Football Big Predictions 2017: Who Will Be the Most Expensive Transfer?
In the Absence of Diego Costa, Chelsea Must Unleash Michy Batshuayi
Salute This Season's Premier League Fantasy Football Stars
European Club Rankings: Arsenal & PSG Tumble; Barcelona Finally Rise Up
Insider Buzz: Manchester United's Ashley Young Wanted in 3 Different Continents
Tottenham's Danny Rose & Kyle Walker: The Best Full-Back Pairing in England?
Insider Buzz: Chelsea Target Simon Kjaer as They Move on from Leonardo Bonucci
European Team of the Weekend: Vertonghen, Mertens & Luis Suarez Star
The Numbers Behind Dries Mertens' Brilliant Goalscoring Run at Napoli
Can Zlatan Ibrahimovic Reignite Manchester United's Title Challenge?
Manchester City vs. Arsenal: FIFA 17 Sim Highlights
Is Unai Emery on the Brink at Paris Saint-Germain?
Memphis Depay Needs to Leave Old Trafford to Save His Career
FC Copenhagen's Ludwig Augustinsson Has Shades of Luke Shaw and Filipe Luis
Premier League Player Rankings: Adam Lallana Enters, Ander Herrera Rises
FanDuel Premier League Preview: Arsenal's Gabriel Is a Must-Have Defender
Palermo Are the Worst Team in Europe
Transfer Tinder: Will Cesc Fabregas Swap Chelsea for Milan?
Transfer Tinder: Will Julian Draxler Hook Up with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool?
Transfer Tinder: Will Memphis Depay Leave Manchester United?
If Rodriguez needs any more motivation to turn his career with Los Blancos around, he should consider the club's links to Chelsea winger Eden Hazard.
The Belgian schemer reportedly "has his heart set on a switch to Real, where he would team up with boyhood hero Zinedine Zidane," according to Sami Mokbel of MailOnline, who also reveals Hazard "is likely to snub a potential big-money switch to Paris Saint-Germain in favour of a switch to the Spanish capital."
Like Rodriguez, Hazard can thrive from the flanks and is able to operate as a No. 10 and play behind the striker. The more Rodriguez struggles to impress, the stronger the Hazard rumours will grow.
Rodriguez has had ample opportunities to win over the decision-makers in Madrid. If his attitude is not deemed up to par, he should be sold. Yet, if he is, Los Blancos will still need to replace his technical quality and flair.
But the more pressing issue will be keeping Varane. He can still emerge as the talisman at the back Madrid will need if they are going to stem Barcelona's dominance of both La Liga and Europe.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!