Romano says Chelsea were major contenders to sign £34m star, now he's about to join PL rivals

Fabrizio Romano claimed on his Youtube channel that Chelsea were in the running for Raphael Varane up until the Champions League triumph.

According to the transfer guru, the Blues had a good foothold in the chase for Varane, one which slipped away following their European win in May.

The Frenchman is now on the verge of joining Manchester United from Real Madrid for an initial fee of £34m (BBC).

Photo by Antonio Villalba/Real Madrid via Getty Images

For a player of his caliber, experience, and with a trophy cabinet to boot, this deal looks like an absolute bargain.

One that Chelsea and many other clubs feel they should have pursued harder.

Au revoir, Raphael

In the Blues case, they seemingly had the 28-year-old in their grasp before they became continental victors.

“In March, Chelsea were enquiring for Varane,” explained Romano.

Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

“They were really contenders for Varane. So were Paris Saint-Germain.

“Two clubs were in the race together with Manchester United.

“Chelsea, after winning the Champions League, were really happy with their centre-backs.  

“Thiago Silva signed a new contract, (Antonio) Rudiger was discussing a new deal, as was (Andreas) Christensen.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

“So, it wasn’t the priority for Chelsea.”

Backing up on the back-line

Granted, Thomas Tuchel had orchestrated one of the continent’s tightest defence in only a few months.

Getting the best out of Rudiger and Christensen certainly aided this improvement, along with a change in formation.

Although at the time it didn’t seem like a necessity, signing a new centre-half has certainly crept back into a conversation recently.

Rudiger, Christensen, and Cesar Azpilicueta only have one year left on their contracts, whilst Silva won’t be present for much longer.

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Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori have both been sold.

Kurt Zouma is reportedly being eyed up by Tottenham Hotspur.

This has led to a flutter of defenders being linked to Chelsea, including Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich, and Varane himself.

However, the latter’s ship is now sailing on its way to Manchester.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.