Chelsea have reportedly ‘jumped ahead’ of Manchester United in the race to sign Real Madrid star Raphael Varane.
The 28-year-old defender is set to enter the final 12 months of his contract at the Bernabeu this summer and is still debating his future.
Varane is a key player under boss Zinedine Zidane but Madrid could be forced to cash in if they cannot convinced him to pen fresh terms before the start of next season.
Paris Saint-Germain are also keen on the French World Cup winner, who is facing extra competition for his place at Madrid next season amid the expected arrival of Bayern Munich’s David Alaba on a free transfer.
According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Varane is not convinced his future lay at Madrid beyond the end of his current deal, with Chelsea now prepared to fork out £61million to land his services.
That could give the Blues the upper hand in the race over the likes of United, who are being careful with their spending and may see Varane as an expensive outlay they cannot stretch to in the current climate.
United are currently in the process of trying to tie down Eric Bailly to a new contract and the club are thought to be prioritising other areas of their squad to strengthen.
They could instead focus their efforts on signing Sergio Ramos, who is out of contract this summer.
PSG represent a significant threat to Chelsea’s hopes of landing Varane, who could welcome a return to his home country.
While Thomas Tuchel needs no convincing of Varane’s quality, he will be able to witness his talents at close quarters when the teams meet in the Champions League semi-final starting this week.