Chelsea are ready to step up their interest in Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane after missing out on Manchester United target Joao Miranda, who has snubbed the advances of Premier League giants in favour of staying with Atletico Madrid.
The Daily Express reports how the Blues lodged a £20 million bid for the Brazilian centre-back - £5 million short of the player's release clause - but were quickly stopped in their tracks after he made clear his desire to remain at the Vicente Calderon.
Miranda was also thought to be a target for new Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal, who is looking to strengthen his defensive department at Old Trafford ahead of the new season.
However, after reiterating his commitment to Diego Simeone's side and intimating plans to sign a new contract with the La Liga champions, Manchester United - like Chelsea - have been forced to consider other options.
Jose Mourinho is now planning to go back to his former club in an attempt to lure Varane to Stamford Bridge.
The Portuguese tactician was responsible for bringing the 21-year-old to the Santiago Bernabeu from the French second division in 2011, and would love to be reunited with him again in west London.
The France international is understood to be considering his options at Real Madrid having grown frustrated by his lack of regular action under Carlo Ancelotti last season.
With Sergio Ramos and Pepe the Italian's preferred central defensive pairing in the Spanish capital, Varane might look to force a transfer.
Other reports have intimated that the player is simply unhappy with his current wages, and is seeking talks with the Champions League holders over a new and improved deal.
Real Madrid's failure to meet Varane's demands could ultimately pave way for a move to Chelsea.
Mourinho has intimated that he will make no further signings this summer following the capture of Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Didier Drogba, whilst centre-back Kurt Zouma and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois have both joined up with the first-team squad following the completion of their respective loan deals.
However, the Blues boss might make an exception for Varane, should the player become available between now and the close of the transfer window.
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