Chelsea and Manchester City are both exploring the option of signing Real Madrid defender Pepe after doubts were raised over his future at the club, reports The Mirror.
It is still not known exactly what Rafa Benitez is planning to do with the Real Madrid team in his first season managing the club, but reports have suggested he will put his faith in Raphael Varane.
The France international had previously been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu due to a lack of playing time under Carlo Ancelotti.
Ancelotti preferred the experience of Pepe at the back, but president Florentino Perez wants Varane to become a legend at the Bernabeu and Benitez will try to appease the almighty leader by handing the 22-year-old a star role at Pepe's expense.
The 32-year-old has spent eight seasons as a Real Madrid player but could find himself out in the cold. With just 12 months left to run on his contract, both Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini are now tracking his situation.
Now or next summer
Pepe would be free to negotiate a bosman free transfer in January and would be able to leave for nothing next summer. Should Benitez decide Pepe is not in his plans, he could also cash in this summer.
The same report claims Real Madrid are ready to sell should an offer of £10.5m arrive on their doorstep. But for a player in the twilight of his career at the elite level such a fee may be enough to put Chelsea and Manchester City off.
The game is over for the Portugal international, however, as Benitez has reportedly told him that he still has a future in the Spanish capital but he must simply prove he is worthy of a new contract.
That might be too much to ask for a man with almost 200 La Liga appearances for the club and the chance to prove himself in the Premier League before retiring may be too tempting to turn down.
Whether Chelsea have space for him in their first-team is also another matter. John Terry remains the rock at the back in west London while Kurt Zouma looks set to challenge Gary Cahill for a starting berth next to him.
Would Pepe be a good signing for Chelsea?
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