Jose Mourinho gave Raphael Varane his chance to shine at Real Madrid last season and that faith he showed in the French youngster has led to the suggestion he could be signed as a long term replacement for John Terry at Chelsea.
However, it’s a deal which may never happen for as long as Carlo Ancelotti is the boss at Real Madrid because he’s made the relationship between himself and Mourinho very clear.
Ancelotti has indicated, via a report on the AS website, that he only holds a working respect for Mourinho and that they will never be friends away from the pitch in the same way Mourinho enjoys a friendship with former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Do not think that Jose and I are friends one day, but now we have a mutual respect,” says Ancelotti in the report.
It’s important because when it comes to a deal for one of Real Madrid’s best players, a close friendship between managers is relied upon to make any deal easier to achieve.
A good parallel example is what’s just happened with Chelsea’s pursuit of Edinson Cavani of Napoli, where Rafael Benitez is now the manager.
Although Napoli would have sold to Chelsea had they triggered the striker’s buy out clause, the deal was made much more difficult because of the grudge Benitez holds against the club which has just employed him.
The manager has the ability to go to the chairman, the owner, the president or anyone else who has final say in transfer matters and say ‘make it as difficult as possible for that team to get this player’ - and there was frequently believed to be no love lost between Mourinho and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the man who fired him.
Considering how effective Varane has been for Real Madrid, any deal for a side looking to buy him is going to be all the more difficult if the manager of the side looking to buy him can’t have the occasional friendly chat with the other boss.
It’s a shame because Varane is the sort of player who could thrive in the Chelsea back four in the Premier League and enhancing his experience in the Champions League.
He would not only improve the overall quality of the defensive section of Chelsea’s squad, he would also take a lot of pressure away from the likes of Gary Cahill and David Luiz, also allowing Branislav Ivanovic to be used in a variety of defensive roles.
Mourinho is a bit like Marmite in football, you either love him or you hate him and while Ancelotti and the Portuguese coach will always shake hands and get on professionally, it’s the boundaries away from the field which stop Chelsea getting access to a fantastic player.
Do Chelsea have any chance of signing Varane? Is he the player they need?
image: © katabasis