Chelsea have excelled in the Premier League this season but face a fight to keep their star-men this summer, as Europe’s elite look to make a move in the transfer target.
Real Madrid continue to eye the services of Belgian ace Eden Hazard but The Sun states Chelsea are ready to fend-off the interest of the Spanish giants by handing their star-man a contract worth £300k-a-week; which would make Hazard the highest paid player in the Premier League.
Talks of a renewal were set to start at the end of the season but, given Real Madrid’s growing interest, the Blues have brought forward discussions as they aim to prevent Los Blancos from sealing a major transfer this summer.
Zinedine Zidane has been very public with his admiration for Hazard and many feel he’s the perfect long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has limited years left at the top of European football. Naturally though, Chelsea are desperate to keep him.
How important is Hazard?
Eden Hazard’s performances over the past three seasons for Chelsea have been mixed, as he was a key-part of their title-winning success under Jose Mourinho but performed poorly last term. This season though, Hazard is back to his best and is again proving to be a huge catalyst for the Blues’ success.
Keeping Hazard is crucial for the side’s set up but the most important factor is the message that it would send to their rivals, as it would show the Blues are capable of going toe-to-toe with both Manchester clubs to boast the best names.
By handing Hazard a Premier League record-deal, Chelsea would show their willingness to fight and match the spending from Manchester United and Manchester City. If he was to leave, Chelsea would find it hard to replace him and it would also issue a negative message.
Is Hazard worth it?
Hazard’s performances for Chelsea have made him a fan-favourite at Stamford Bridge but many do expect more from him and the Belgian can expect to receive further scrutiny if he was to command this record-breaking deal; as we’ve seen with Paul Pogba this season.
To be classed in the same calibre as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Hazard will need to find consistency and perform domestically as well as on the continent. Having only just turned 26 though, there’s plenty of time for him to adjust.
Securing this deal would allow Antonio Conte to continue building a side around the Belgian, which is likely to include the arrival of a new striker this summer as question-marks on the future of Diego Costa consider to be raised.