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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Raphael Varane may leave Real Madrid; Riyad Mahrez to stick with Leicester

The summer transfer window will be opening before you know it, and rumours around the world are picking up steam. As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest gossip. See the latest deals here.

TOP STORY: Man United after Varane

Manchester United are stepping up efforts to sign centre-back Raphael Varane away from Real Madrid this summer. Zinedine Zidane's Real side advanced to the Champions League final on Wednesday with a 1-0 win versus Manchester City, but Varane was once again not in the starting XI on another European night -- a regular occurrence under Zidane.

The 23-year-old is "aware of interest" from other top clubs such as United, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, and he is open to offers, according to TalkSport.

Varane has ties with Jose Mourinho (more on him below) from the Portuguese's time in Madrid when he bought the France international from Lens for €10 million in the summer of 2011. Mourinho has been linked with the manager positions at both United and PSG and is said to still be enamoured with Varane.

Courtois to leave Chelsea?

It seems almost impossible to believe, but Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois could truly be set for a departure from Stamford Bridge.

The Sun are reporting that a falling-out with Chelsea goalkeeper coach Christophe Lollichon has left Courtois looking for the exits, despite incoming manager Antonio Conte's professed desire to keep the 23-year-old with the club.

Thibaut Courtois
A falling out with Chelsea's goalkeeper coach could be the tipping point for a Stamford Bridge exit for Thibaut Courtois.

The outlet suggests that Conte went as far as to ask the Chelsea brass if bringing in a new keeper coach in an attempt to get the 23-year-old to stay was an option, but he was rebuked for that proposal.

Courtois was a big reason that Atletico Madrid made the Champions League final in 2014 and a big reason that Chelsea won the Premier League in 2014-15. So even though he's had a subpar season by his own lofty standards, it's likely that a healthy queue of teams would be ready and willing to sign him away from Chelsea if the opportunity presents itself.

More on Mourinho

It appeared that Louis van Gaal was a lock to lose his job on several occasions this campaign, but it now seems he could be staying at Manchester United for the remainder of his contract, which runs through next season.

That's bad news for Mourinho, who similarly seemed a lock to step into the manager position at Old Trafford once his Dutch counterpart was shown the door. According to the Mail, Mou isn't ready to wait out the dream move for an entire year if Van Gaal does stay on this summer.

And here's another interesting wrinkle to the story from The Times, which has reported details on Van Gaal's contract with the Red Devils.

The outlet says that the Dutchman's deal with the club had performance-related incentives as well as a buyout amount if he were sacked. Van Gaal will lose out on "more than £1m of his annual salary" if the team misses the Champions League and will earn a £400,000 bonus if they win the FA Cup this weekend.

Of even more interest is the stipulation that Manchester United would need to pay LVG £5m to force him out of the job before his contract expires. That's basically petty cash for a club like United, but it's still food for thought and certainly adds up to a nice "Red" parachute if he's sacked.

Mahrez staying put with champions

Ah, the perils of success. The "new normal" for Leicester City - early-season relegation favourites who went on to win the league -- includes daily rumours that many of the top players who were instrumental in their shock success this season are set for a departure.

Top of that list are Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante, a bargain signing who set the league on fire as both a goal scorer and an assist man. But fear not, Foxes fans, Claudio Ranieri and other club officials have assured club supporters that Mahrez has told them he has no plans to leave and is "happy" with the club.

ESPN FC's Leicester blogger, Ben Jacobs, says the club are adamant that they don't need to sell any players, but he also admits the huge transfer fee -- rumoured to be upward of £40 million - that Mahrez would command might make it hard for the team's Thai owners to resist.

Tap-Ins

-- The Mirror suggest that Lyon will do everything in their power to keep Alexandre Lacazette out of Premier League hands. Tottenham and West Ham are both said to be weighing a move for the 24-year-old, who's scored 89 goals in 227 appearances for the Ligue 1 club.

-- Michy Batshuayi has been a hot name ahead of the summer window and The Guardian now say it's West Ham that are ready with a £31m offer for the up-and-coming Belgian.

The Marseille striker is tied for fourth in Ligue 1 goals this season with 16 and has also been linked with a move to Juventus.

-- Chelsea are ready to re-sign Josh McEachran from Brentford, according to the Evening Standard.

The midfielder was sold to the Championship side for £750,000 12 months ago, but Chelsea continued to monitor his progress after he left Stamford Bridge with an eye toward a possible buy-back. It's not known whether McEachran has a clause in his contract that would allow Chelsea to bring him back if Brentford wanted to keep him.

-- Finally, a funny one from the Mirror. Apparently, Yaya Toure thought it was Manchester United, not City, who were interested in acquiring him from Barcelona in 2010 when he was initially approached about a move away from Camp Nou.

"My agent had to tell me it was the team in the blue shirts," admitted Toure.

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