As Chelsea prepare for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid, an interesting subplot has emerged.
The latest reports in Spain suggest the Blues are in pole position to sign long-serving Los Blancos defender Raphael Varane, who they will likely line up against at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
While Varane has been a target for Manchester United for much of the season, Chelsea are understood to have leapfrogged the Red Devils in the chase for the World Cup winner.
But the news is less promising regarding AC Milan shot-stopper Gianluigi Buffon, with fresh reports claiming the Italian will pen a new deal at San Siro.
Also featuring a footballing legend’s plea for Hakim Ziyech to leave Stamford Bridge, here is Tuesday’s Chelsea transfer round-up.
Blues’ Donnarumma blow
Chelsea have reportedly been dealt a blow in their long-term pursuit of AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The Italian, 22, is out of contract this summer and has been heavily linked with the Blues in recent seasons, but European transfer expert Chris Parrott expects the goalkeeper to agree new terms at San Siro.
Parrott told talkSPORT : “This is a guy who’s only 22 and when he burst onto the scene we thought: ‘this is [Gianluigi] Buffon again isn’t it?’
“He’s going to be Milan’s goalkeeper and a lot of people say that Mino Raiola’s clients do not always end up at the right club at the right time.
“For me, for all of the years he has been at Milan this is the one year where you would not want to leave. They are threatening to create something and will be back in the Champions League next season.”
Do Chelsea need to sign a new goalkeeper? Have your say in the comments.
Ziyech urged to leave Stamford Bridge
Marco van Basten has urged Hakim Ziyech to leave Chelsea – less than one year after the winger sealed his £37million arrival from Ajax.
Ziyech showed glimpses of his quality under former Blues boss Frank Lampard, but has had to settle for a minor role under Thomas Tuchel.
Ajax and Netherlands legend Van Basten believes the 28-year-old deserves opportunities ahead of Timo Werner – and claims he should leave Chelsea if he is not handed them.
“Ziyech again on the bench,” said Van Basten. “When he gets in, that’s like a striker. He can do that too, because he is just a good player.
“I am sad to see rotation… He’s just not in the right place. That Werner plays really badly, but doesn’t he come in much more often?
“The system this trainer plays is just not good for Ziyech. Then as Ziyech you have to say: ‘You know what? I have to plead [to leave]’.
“It is now about Ziyech because I have nothing to do with that man. This is not getting along like that. I’m not saying it’s bad for Ziyech or bad for that trainer, but it doesn’t work like that.”
Chelsea take lead in Varane race
That’s according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo , which adds the Blues are willing to pay £61million to sign the 28-year-old.
Varane has long been linked with a move to Old Trafford, so it would be somewhat of a coup for Chelsea to snap up the French World Cup winner.
But Paris Saint-Germain are also in pursuit and are keen on bringing the former Lens man back to Ligue 1.
Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.