Mourinho eyes “best young defender in the world” reunion

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John Terry is having a superb season. But no matter how often the one-club Chelsea skipper keeps defying his age to keep the best Premier League strikers at bay, eventually he needs replacing.

The Blues’ purchase of Kurt Zouma from St Etienne last January was seen as early recognition that the club needed to plan for the day when their iconic skipper no longer marshalled the defence.

However, it seems those plans aren’t complete, with the emergence of rumours linking Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane with a Stamford Bridge switch.

Should it happen, it would certainly please Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who worked with the Frenchman during his time in charge of Los Blancos and called the former Lens man “the best young defender in the world” last March.

Mourinho signed the 21-year-old while managing the Spanish giants, but would likely have to pay far more than the £7m he reportedly forked out when initially landing his man in 2011.

A figure of £40m is now being touted as the golden price this time around, a fee the Blues are supposedly happy to part with in order to secure their long-term defensive future.

Gary Cahill, England’s vice-captain, looks certain to step into Terry’s shoes once the famous number 26 departs the scene, but at the age of 29 the former Bolton man isn’t likely to fill the void for too long.

Partnering 20-year-old Zouma with Varane could be the answer to both Chelsea and France’s defensive prayers and would hark back to the Stamford Bridge days of Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf battling top-flight forwards.

Varane hasn’t found playing time all that difficult to come by under Carlo Ancelotti, starting 24 games for the Italian this season and missing out on 20, but it could be that a reunion with his former Portuguese boss is too big a lure.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.