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Chelsea lose out on defensive target

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Clive Rose

By now I imagine everyone knows Raphaël Varane's name. One of the top centre back prospects in the world, a semi-regular at Real Madrid and with a World Cup under his belt, Varane had been linked reasonably seriously with Chelsea all summer. Which made some sense -- Jose Mourinho is the man who helped him break through at the Bernabéu, and his contract situation with the La Liga giants was getting a bit ugly.

Emphasis on 'was'.

"Real Madrid announced the extension of Raphäel Varane's contract until June 30th 2020," says the Real Madrid website (thanks to our sister blog Managing Madrid for the heads up), which rather rules out him going anywhere for the forseeable future. And since this is probably the last time during his career that he'll be kept out of the Los Blancos starting XI by the likes of Sergio Ramos and Pepe, this round of contract talks was probably the only opportunity for any other club to snatch him from under Madrid's noses.

Dream dead, in other words. On the plus side, we have Kurt Zouma and a pair of very promising young centre halves in Tomas Kalas and Kenneth Omeruo. They might not be as sexy or as mature as Varane, but we're in good shape in the long run there.