We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Raphael Varane latest: Chelsea and Manchester United on alert with Real Madrid defender seeking assurances over his role at Los Blancos

French defender also 'open' to a move to United, according to reports

Talented Real Madrid and France defender Raphael Varane has piqued the interest of Chelsea and Manchester United because he is seeking assurances about his role in Madrid.

The classy defender, 21, starred in the centre of defence for France during the World Cup but was in and out of Carlo Ancelotti's Los Blancos team last season, with the Italian manager preferring the pairing of Sergio Ramos and Pepe.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, he could seek a change of scenery if he does not receive an adequate guarantee about his role with the defending European champions next season.

Having lost David Luiz for £50m to Paris Saint-Germain, Jose Mourinho may be short of a centre-back with John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic the only experienced players in the position.

Mourinho does also have Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake in his first team squad and while both are talented, they are unproven at the top level.

The Portuguese was the man who brought Varane to Madrid and he was much more willing to play him than Ancelotti has been - Varane played 33 matches in Mourinho's final year in charge of Los Blancos compared to only 23 last season under Ancelotti.

Varane is believed to have grown frustrated at his lack of game time, though he did start the Champions League final.

His frustration will only have been exacerbated by his performances in Brazil, where he was nominated for Young Player of the Tournament after starting all five matches for Didier Deschamps.

However, Chelsea could face a fight for Varane's signature, according to French weekly Le10 Sport, who say that Varane is open to a move to Old Trafford.

Manchester United look short in defence after the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Louis van Gaal

After the loss of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, Louis van Gaal's squad looks extremely light at centre-back with only Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling remaining.

Despite United not being in Europe this season, Varane is young enough that a season not playing in the Champions League will not be too detrimental.