Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho targets Raphael Varane and Marquinhos

By Simon Johnson

Jose Mourinho will launch an ambitious raid to sign both Raphael Varane and Marquinhos this summer in order to improve Chelsea's defence.

Mourinho has been promised big money to spend in the next transfer window to improve the squad following their shock exit to Paris Saint Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Standard Sport already revealed in January that he was going to make another move for Real Madrid star Varane, having already made an enquiry for him last summer.

The 21-year-old is still not a regular at the Bernabeu, where he was given his first major breakthrough when Mourinho was in charge there.

Only last month, the Chelsea boss heralded both Varane and current Chelsea prodigy Kurt Zouma as the two best young defenders in the world.

Having signed a new deal to 2020, it will take an offer in excess of £25m to acquire Varane, but the France centre half is believed to be open to the idea of working with Mourinho again. Twitter reacts to Chelsea's Champions League exit

The Chelsea manager is also a huge admirer of PSG's Marquinhos, who impressed as a centre half and then as a right back in the first and second legs respectively.

Mourinho wants to sign another right back, despite the form of Branislav Ivanovic this season and Marquinhos' versatility makes him an added attraction.

Ivanovic, who is being targeted by PSG himself, has opened talks with Chelsea over an extension to his current contract, which expires next year.

But Mourinho still wants to freshen up his backline. Ivanovic is 31 and captain John Terry, who will sign a one-year extension before the end of the season, is 35 in December.

The form of 29-year-old Gary Cahill has been a cause for concern this term, as has Chelsea's defending as a whole - their defeat to PSG on away goals was the tenth time they have failed to win a game from a winning position.

Marquinhos will not be easy to sign either given he moved from Roma for £22.5m in 2013 and still has three years left on his current deal.

But as well as having money to spend, Chelsea have assets they are prepared to sell should a high offer come in. They include two players PSG admire in keeper Petr Cech and Oscar, while Ramires was a target for Real Madrid last summer.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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