Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has ended speculation surrounding his future by signing a contract extension with the reigning European champions. The France international, who has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester United in recent months, has put pen-to-paper on a new six-year deal.
This was confirmed by Real Madrid via their official website on Thursday afternoon. Varane is now tied down at the Bernabeu until 30 June 2020.
Major boost for Real Madrid
That Varane, whose original deal expired in 2017, has agreed to extend his contract will come as a major boost to Real Madrid. The 21-year-old is widely considered the best young centre-back in world football, hence why Europe's biggest clubs were keeping tabs on his situation.
It's no secret that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is a huge fan of Varane's. The Portuguese coach played a key role in bringing the French star to the Bernabeu from Lens in 2011 - and had hoped to lure him to Stamford Bridge.
Similarly, Manchester United reportedly contacted Varane's representatives this summer to discover whether the Los Blancos ace would consider a £20 million switch to Old Trafford.
Both Premier League clubs held out hope that a deal could be agreed, but their plans to bring Varane to England now lie in tatters following confirmation that the defender has signed his new contract.
Ancelotti offers Varane first-team assurances?
Varane, despite his extraordinary talent, was often left on the substitutes' bench last season, with Carlo Ancelotti opting for Sergio Ramos and Pepe as his preferred defensive centre-back partnership.
The Frenchman did, however, suffer from a series of untimely knee injuries and missed a large chunk of the season on the sidelines.
That Varane has signed a new deal suggests Ancelotti has offered him assurances over first-team appearances this season. He has only played 13 minutes of Real Madrid's first three La Liga matches, but the team's manager may consider dropping Pepe for Varane after Los Blancos suffered back-to-back defeats against Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid.
Pepe set to be dropped?
Ancelotti stuck with Pepe and Ramos as his defensive partnership for Tuesday night's Champions League victory over Basel, but the Italian could start Varane - for the first time since August's Spanish Super Cup defeat to rivals Atletico Madrid - against Deportivo on Saturday.
Pepe was superb last season, but his form has been patchy so far this term. The 31-year-old Portugal international is likely to be the one who makes way for Varane in the Real Madrid team over the forthcoming weeks.