Chelsea would be getting an absolute bargain if they were to sign Raphael Varane in a £20 million deal this summer, that's according to one of the country's most revered sport journalists, Patrick Barclay, who claims the Real Madrid defender could be worth as much as six times that amount after placing a whopping £120 million valuation on his shoulders.
Writing in his column for the London Evening Standard, the former Chief Football Correspondent for The Times stated his belief that the France international is among the best centre-backs in world football at the moment, despite the fact he's struggled to cement his place in Carlo Ancelotti's side this season.
Jose Mourinho has been frequently linked with an attempt to bring the 21-year-old stopper to Stamford Bridge, but Barclay believes he should have to pay significantly more for Varane's services and doubts the likelihood of an agreement being reached at that price.
"I keep reading Chelsea hope to sign the young Frenchman for £20 million but, if they were to, it would be theft," he wrote. "Varane is very tall and very quick. He can tackle and he can play. He is probably the finest defender in the world.
"If his compatriot Eliaquim Mangala was worth £42 million to Manchester City last summer, Varane would have to fetch at least £120 million.
"While Real are notorious for silly sales — and Chelsea were beneficiaries in the case of Claude Makelele — Stamford Bridge should not hold its breath for this one."
With Pepe and Sergio Ramos the preferred central defensive pairing at the Santiago Bernabeu there has been speculation suggesting Varane would look to leave Los Blancos at the end of the season.
However, owing to a number of injuries and suspensions the former Lens ace has still made 22 La Liga appearances this term - the most he has ever managed in one season at ReaL Madrid.
Happy in Madrid
As a result the Frenchman insists he is happy in the Spanish capital, and addressed rumours about his future in the recent 2-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano.
"I am focused on our season and we are going to give everything to win it all," he was quoted saying by Sky Sports. "I am happy here."
Varane played a starring role for Real in last night's goalless draw with local rivals Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, and his performance was not lost on Barclay, who paid tribute to the silky centre-back after another swashbuckling display.
In his words 'the game was largely about attritional resistance' and 'was a marvellous example of how a match can end scoreless after gripping you for its entirety', as both sides cancelled out the attacking threat that each other offered through stubborn defensive resilience.
Chelsea fans: What chance do you think Jose Mourinho has of getting Raphael Varane to Stamford Bridge this summer? And how much should the club be willing to pay? Have your say below...