Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has hinted that he would love to sign Real Madrid centre-back Rafael Varane this summer, according to The Sun.

The 20-year-old France international cemented his reputation as one of the most promising defenders in world football while Mourinho was in charge at the Bernabeu last season.

And the Portuguese coach, who signed Varane from French outfit Lens for £8m three years ago, believes the gifted defender ranks alongside Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Barcelona’s Neymar as one of the best young players on the planet.

“I think he is the best young central defender in the world,” Mourinho told reporters. “Already I think he’s the best.

“A young player must be somebody who plays in the World Cup for the first time.

“These are players like Hazard, Neymar and Rafa Varane. Maybe I forget some others.”

Varane played the whole 90 minutes of France’s encouraging 2-0 international friendly victory over the Netherlands on Wednesday night and looks certain to be one of Les Blues’ starting centre-backs at the World Cup finals in Brazil this summer.

Mourinho would then, ideally, bring him to west London as the perfect long-term replacement for talismanic captain John Terry, whose contract expires this summer.

Terry is expected to renew his contract for one more year, but a potential centre-back partnership comprised of Varane and the already-signed France Under-21 international Kurt Zouma would leave Chelsea defensively solid for more than a decade.

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