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.
Chelsea: Potential summer transfer targets
Chelsea: Potential summer transfer targets
1/9 Paul Pogba
Former Manchester United midfielder was spotted in west London setting the rumour mill into overdrive. The classy French midfielder, still just 21, impressed at the World Cup and has been linked with a blockbuster £60m move to Stamford Bridge, despite the recent arrival of Cesc Fabregas. However, he is also linked with a move to Manchester City as a potential replacement for Yaya Toure.
2/9 Adrien Rabiot
The talented teen put clubs in Europe on alert after rejecting a contract offer from Paris Saint-Germain. Chelsea made a move for the Frenchman in January and have gone back in for him, even though he is highly rated by PSG coach Laurent Blanc.
3/9 Sami Khedira
The German midfielder missed five months for Real Madrid's season with a knee injury and has played just 15 games this term. With Madrid reportedly interested in signing new players in central midfield, Khedira's future at the Bernabeu could be at an end. The 27-year-old is interesting Arsenal, but should Chelsea go in for him too, they would be getting a player that Mourinho knows well and real quality in front of the back four, not dissimilar to club legend Claude Makelele.
4/9 Yaya Toure
An outside bet, of course, but with all the drama surrounding the Toure and Manchester City recently, Chelsea could swoop. A powerhouse of a midfielder with a surprisingly deft touch and devastating skill at the dead ball, the 31-year-old would be huge assent to any team in the world. Toure cost City £24million in 2010, so any offer would have to huge from Chelsea if they are to persuade the Sky Blues to sell to a title rival.
Tottenham's summer signing hasn't quite lived up to the form he reached in Brazil's Confederations Cup victory in 2013 and struggled at the World Cup, but he has still performed well enough to have Chelsea and Real Madrid reportedly interested in acquiring his services. The 25-year-old would fit in well at Stamford Bridge given the Blues' strong Brazilian contingent already. Paulinho had a mixed first season in the Premier League, scored six goals with three assists last season and not the return Spurs were hoping for, and the lure of Champions League football could persuade the midfielder to switch London clubs.
6/9 Fabio Coentrao
With Ashley Cole having joined Roma and Ryan Bertrand also likely to leave, Jose Mourinho will be in need of a quality, experienced left-back and one possibility is Real Madrid's Coentrao. The 26-year-old came close to joining Manchester United in January and is likely to lose his starting place at Madrid when Marcelo is fully fit again next season. Carlo Ancelotti denies any rumours that the Portuguese defender will leave but if the right offer were to be made by Chelsea, he could be on his way to London and nail down a starting role with ease.
7/9 Edinson Cavani
After a season of playing in the shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG, Cavani looks likely to leave the French side after just one year and become the main man at an English club next season. Chelsea remain interested in the Uruguayan but Chelsea are despite a deal for Diego Costa already complete, but may face competition from Manchester United. The 27-year-old cost PSG €64.5million last summer, so any offer from Mourinho would take a large slice of his funds but with his striking power and goals an almost guarantee, it could be a risk worth going for.
8/9 Radamel Falcao
The Colombian striker did not regain fitness in time for the World Cup but it has given him a good chance to weigh up his future. Seemingly always in transfer rumours despite his €60m switch to Monaco last summer, Falcao is a long-term target of the Blues, though Diego Costa has filled the previously vacant No 9 role. The 28-year-old lit up La Liga during his two seasons with Atlectico Madrid but, mainly because of injury, has failed to live up to his price tag in France. If unrest reports are true, Chelsea could attempt an offer.
9/9 Raphael Varane
Reportedly unhappy at Real Madrid due to his low wages in comparison to his team-mates, the centre back has been linked with a move away. Chelsea are reportedly one of the clubs interested in the France international with Jose Mourinho seeing him as a long-term replacement for John Terry.
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."
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.
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.
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