Although Jose Mourinho did not seem to enjoy his time managing in Spain very much, it has not stopped the Chelsea manager returning to La Liga three times already to bolster his squad this summer.
Former Barcelona and Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas was joined by Diego Costa and Filipe Luis at Stamford Bridge, the latter pair both plucked from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
The one Spanish giant Mourinho has not raided so far is his former club Real Madrid, but that could change with reports that the Portuguese is keen on centre-back Raphael Varane.
The 21-year-old became a key part of Madrid’s first team under Mourinho, making 33 appearances in 2012/13, but has found his opportunities more limited since Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment.
The Italian manager generally favoured Pepe and Sergio Ramos and Varane might view a chance to link up with Mourinho again favourably.
Chelsea have a slight shortage of senior centre-backs after David Luiz’s departure this summer, with Branislav Ivanovic currently the main back-up to John Terry and Gary Cahill.
The Serbian is no slouch in the middle of defence, but has spent most of his career at right-back and Mourinho will fancy Varane as someone who can challenge Terry and Cahill for a first-team spot, rather than just providing cover.
There have also been rumours that Chelsea might offer Petr Cech as a makeweight in any deal, with Real Madrid in the midst of a goalkeeping muddle.
Last season’s first choice Deigo Lopez is apparently angry at their attempts to push him out of the club despite Iker Casillas’ slump in form over the past two seasons.
Keylor Navas has already been signed from Levante but Los Blancos might view Cech as an even safer pair of hands to be their number one in the next few seasons.
For their part, Chelsea could be happy to let Cech leave having brought Thibaut Courtois back into the fold after his outstanding displays on loan at Atletico.
Given the impressive transfer business they have already done, Chelsea’s odds of 15/8 to win the Premier League are tempting, and also signing Varane could make them all but unstoppable next season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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