The Raphael Varane alternative who could cost Chelsea just £500,000

Diego Llorente produced a superb performance as Real Madrid defeated PSG in a friendly yesterday.

If the reports which suggested Chelsea were interested in Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane were accurate, then the Blues may have been looking at the wrong defensive talent to poach from Real Madrid.

Varane was mentioned in connection with the Blues at the back end of last season when Jose Mourinho was being linked with a return to Stamford Bridge and immediately after that news was made official.

However, Mourinho would be well advised to invest in 20-year-old Diego Llorente who served in the youth team and the Real Madrid C team during the Portuguese’s team at the Bernabeau.

Llorente was selected by Carlo Ancelotti to start the friendly match against Paris Saint-Germain in Doha yesterday and he played brilliantly against an attack which included Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani.

Llorente showed a core set of skills which suggest he could become a very good central defender as he matures into his early 20s as he looks to get his foot through the door of the Real Madrid first team on a regular basis.

His contract with Real Madrid expires in the summer and popular website transfermarkt gives the Spaniard a current valuation of around the £500,000 mark which suggests the Blues wouldn’t have to break the bank to get him.

Of course it would be a tremendous gamble for Mourinho and Chelsea because Llorente does have very little first team experience at the highest level of Spanish and European football.

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That is Mourinho’s problem because if Llorente becomes a free agent in the summer, more and more sides will start looking at him and it’s a deal which could be criticised now because he’s a relatively unknown player and Chelsea have a real scrap on their hands across multiple fronts to win silverware this season.

However, based on Mourinho’s comments this week that he’s not expecting a busy January transfer window for his club, it’s the sort of investment in a younger player that he may be willing to push for.

Mourinho made it clear when he returned as Chelsea boss that he would be basing his teams in the immediate future around a combination of using more experienced players and youth and he’s also said he’s looking to stay with the Blues for more than a ten-year period.

That means he needs to create a sustainable system of younger players coming through and maintaining the ability to spend big on other transfers. Watch this space.

image: © jansolo09

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