Chelsea can use Messi distraction to bag their man Raphael Varane

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Lionel Messi follows Chelsea on Instagram, despite not following Barcelona and the internet goes into overdrive. Coincidence? Probably, but the noise around this potential move could allow Jose Mourinho to sneak under the radar and bag a £20m defender.

Raphael Varane yesterday reportedly revealed he would like to move to either Stamford Bridge or head north to Manchester United in this window.

His club, Real Madrid are also rumoured to be happy for the French international to leave, but only if their valuation of him is reached.

While the allure of Old Trafford would be tricky for many in the game to turn down, it is Varane’s previous dealings with Mourinho that could have the Blues ahead of the pack.

The Special One brought the 21-year-old to the Bernabeu during his time there as manager and began the process of bedding him into the foundations of the Galacticos line-up.

But as managers come and go, the common preferred defensive partnership of Pepe and Sergio Ramos has seen opportunities for Varane limited, and now he is believed to be ready to move on.

Joining Chelsea could be the perfect long-term move for the Lille-born centre-back.

With John Terry now 34, and retirement likely to be on his agenda in the coming years, the west London club will be desperate to bag a potential replacement now so that the transition is a smooth as can be.

And while Varane is still very young, he is immensely experienced for his age.

He has featured 28 times for Los Blancos in the Champions League in his time there, as well as representing his country at senior level on 17 occasions, and was named on a three-man shortlist for ‘Best Young Player’ at the World Cup in Brazil.

It is no wonder his stock is high amongst big clubs around Europe, and looks as if it is Chelsea who are in pole position to snap up the highly-rated defender.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.