Real Madrid are lining up Sociedad defender, Inigo Martinez, as a possible replacement for Raphael Varane, in the event the talented Frenchman is tempted to join up with former coach Jose Mourinho in a big money move to Chelsea.
Chelsea and United interest
Speculation about the future of Varane rumbles on following an impressive season with Los Blancos, with Manchester United and Chelsea leading the interest in the player.
Both Manchester United and Chelsea are looking to plug a gaping hole at the back, following the departure of Rio Ferdinand and David Luiz respectively, and both Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have their sights set on the 21-year old Frenchman.
One would have thought that Chelsea are leading the race to sign Varane, considering the lure of Champions League football and the fact that Mourinho is said to have a very good relationship with the man he describes as the best central defender in the world.
Real Madrid officials have been thinking about a defensive plan B for some time now, incase they are powerless to stop the departure of Varane, Ramos, Pepe or Nacho, and Inigo Martinez from Real Sociedad appears to be top of their list.
Real are pretty certain Martinez would jump at the opportunity of playing his football at the Santiago Bernabeu, however there will be a sticking point in the negotiations, as the club found out during their acquisition of another Sociedad player, Illarramendi, when the club tested the resolve of Madrid by making the player the most expensive Spaniard ever to be bought by Real Madrid at €32 million.
Martinez has a €30 million release clause and you can be guaranteed Sociedad will not let their man leave for less than that amount.
With Bavarian Champions Bayern Munich also sniffing around, it has been reported by the Marca that Madrid officials have made contact with the player and expressed their interest, however they have also explained they would like the player to exercise some patience before the club make an official offer.
Why Varane is being courted
Real have said all summer that they will listen to offers for some of their big name stars and will of course sell if it means good business.
Varane cost just €10 million, three years ago from Lens, and one would expect offers of around €30-€35 million would get club officials listening.