Chelsea want to bring Raphael Varane to Stamford Bridge as Jose Mourinho starts to think about life after John Terry, the Blues' long-serving captain.
Mourinho worked with the highly regarded French defender during his three-year spell at the Bernabeu before Roman Abramovich came calling last year and he returned to west London.
The 21-year-old is said to be considering an exit from Madrid over pay rankles that he earns far less than his team-mates.
The news has alerted Chelsea, who require a long-term replacement for Terry, and it is thought Mourinho is ready to capatilise on the uncertainty surrounding Varane's future.
He played all 120 minutes of Real Madrid's 4–1 win over Atlético Madrid in the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, replacing Pepe, who has not fully recovered from an injury.
While veterans Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard were moved on this summer, Terry, who scored twice against AFC Wimbledon in a pre-season friendly, signed a one-year extension at Stamford Bridge in the summer and wants to remain at the club beyond that.
Terry, who started his pre-season training two weeks before his Chelsea team mates, admitted to Chelsea TV that his performances this season would dictate whether he would be offered another extension.
"Things change. Players get older and move on. One day it is going to be me," the defender told ChelseaTV.
"I'm certainly going to be giving my all to make sure it is not at the end of this season.
"It's an important year for me. Obviously I got a year's contract and it's dependent on how I do again this year so it's on me and I quite like that pressure. Hopefully we can go again."
One player who looks like he is staying put at Stamford Bridge is Kurt Zouma. The £12.5m signing from St Etienne was immediately loaned back to the French side after he signed in January and it was expected the 19-year-old would go back out on loan again, according to the Independent.