Chelsea could use Petr Cech as makeweight in Raphael Varane deal - reports

Real Madrid interested in long-serving goalkeeper

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The Independent Football

Chelsea could use Real Madrid's interest in Petr Cech as a way to bring Raphael Varane to Stamford Bridge, according to reports.

Real Madrid are believed to be lining up a move for the long-serving goalkeeper after Jose Mourinho refused to guarantee that the 32-year-old would be No 1 at Stamford Bridge next season.

Thibaut Courtois has returned to the club after a three-year loan spell with Atletico Madrid as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, despite being just 22, and is a better long-term option for the Blues.

Courtois is unlikely to settle for a backup role to Cech, even if it is for a season and Los Blancos, according to The Times, could take advantage of this congestion.

They are reported to have made a preliminary approach for the Czech stopper.

Mourinho is so far undecided on who his No 1 is, at least publicly, after he played each keeper for 45 minutes in the 3-0 pre-season friendly defeat to Werder Bremen.

Chelsea still have four pre-season matches before they start their Premier League campaign against Burnley and the Portuguese boss is likely to split time between the pair.

Speaking after the defeat in Germany, Mourinho said: "Courtois has only had two days of training, he is not ready. He needs to play, we don’t have lots of time until the beginning of the season – there’s two more weeks so we need to give him more playing time.

"Petr is the same so the decision was 45-45 here and the next match in Turkey will be exactly the same thing."

Thibaut Courtois will not want to be backup next season

Mourinho has previously called Courtois the best young keeper in the world, while the experienced Cech has been brilliant for the Blues for 10 years, keeping 220 clean sheets in all competitions.

Real Madrid are embroiled in a goalkeeping controversy of their own, with last season's first choice Diego Lopez furious; he believes he is being forced out of the club.

Lopez, 32, started all but two La Liga matches last season with Carlo Ancelotti preferring to use fading club legend Iker Casillas in the cup competitions.

Casillas has come under scrutiny for his poor performance in the World Cup, but Lopez is the one deemed surplus to requirements after the arrival of another keeper, Keylor Navas.

A furious Lopez, who is now linked with a move to AC Milan, reportedly told the club's directors: "I'm the best goalkeeper here and you know it."

However, Casillas could still leave the Bernabeu with Monaco and Napoli keeping tabs on the situation.

In a further twist to the saga, the Daily Express report that Chelsea will use Real's interest in Cech as a way to bring in defensive target Raphael Varane.

Could Chelsea use Cech to lure Raphael Varane?

Mourinho is a huge admirer of Varane, having snagged him from France when he was just 18. He starred for France at the World Cup but last season Ancelotti preferred the pairing of Sergio Ramos and Pepe when they were both fit.

Varane played in 33 matches in Mourinho's final year in charge in Spain but played just 23 under Ancelotti in 2013-14. The 21-year-old is believed to be unhappy at both his playing time and wages in Madrid.

Varane, who was nominated for Young Player of the Tournament at the World Cup, would help ease a slight shortage at the back for Chelsea - after the sale of David Luiz to PSG, John Terry, Gary Cahill and the versatile Branislav Ivanovic are the only senior centre-backs in the squad.

Mourinho also has Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake, but they are both unproven.