Carlo Ancelotti says he expects Raphael Varane to remain at Real Madrid for the foreseeable future despite reported interest from Manchester United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
Varane has lost his place in the Real Madrid first team, starting only five La Liga games so far this season. As a result, reports have suggested that the 21-year-old is ready to quit the Bernabeu in search of more game time.
Both Manchester United and Chelsea were ready to pay as much as £20 million to tempt Ancelotti into a sale with Bayern Munich also keeping an eye on the situation. According to some, super agent Jorge Mendes has already held talks with the Bavarian club.
However, Ancelotti is not in the business of entertaining offers just yet and drew to apparent inaccuracies in the rumours to deny their validity.
Quoted in AS, the Real Madrid boss said: "I’m surprised because I didn’t know Mendes [the agent cited in the rumours] was his agent. Three days ago he had a different agent. Varane will be a Madrid player for a long time."
Varane has started Real Madrid's last two games against Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Cup and the other against Espanyol in La Liga. Unfortunately for the France international, Atletico beat them 2-0, but a comprehensive 3-0 win over Espanyol helped allay growing criticism.
But it does appear as though there is a problem between Varane and management over his role in the squad. After joining Real Madrid in 2011, he was given significant game time under Jose Mourinho but has struggled to establish himself under Ancelotti.
Reports linking him with a move to Stamford Bridge, where Mourinho is now in charge, would probably sit well with Varane. John Terry will need a long-term replacement soon and Mourinho is well aware of Varane's quality.
Manchester United would be a significant rival to Chelsea in the fight for his signature as they could offer more money to both Real Madrid and the player. They would have to qualify for the Champions League to stand much chance, however. Currently just two points above fifth-placed Arsenal, their place in Europe's top tier competition for next season is certainly not assured.