Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed in a wide-ranging interview with French televison station TF1 that he would love to sign commanding centre-back Raphael Varane, while also sharing that he's turned down Paris Saint-Germain on two separate occasions.
Mourinho brought Varane into the Real Madrid starting XI as a teenager during his tumultuous tenure in the Spanish capital and clearly still has a soft spot for arguably Europe's most impressive young defender at this moment in time.
New deal means Varane would cost a fortune
Mourinho's admiration for the 21-year-old was retold by AS today, with the Blues boss conceding: "Everyone says he will go to Chelsea because they know I really like him.
"However everyone also knows that he is staying at Real Madrid."
Varane ended lingering speculation over his future by signing a bumper new contract last month, one that ties him to Los Blancos until 2020 and no doubt includes a blockbuster buy-out clause.
Chelsea's interest is clearly concrete though and despite John Terry's fantastic form the Blues captain's advancing years mean signing a top centre-back must be a top priority for Mourinho moving forward.
There's no question that Mourinho enjoyed a strong working relationship with Varane too, so in the volatile environment of the Bernabeu if things change expect Chelsea to be first in the cue for a physically imposing, technically gifted defender set for a long career at the very highest level.