Chelsea must make plans – and their peace – with a prospect that was unthinkable just a short-time ago. The post-Eden Hazard era may be just a few months away.
Real Madrid rumours have swirled around Eden Hazard for most of his career at Chelsea. He has not done much to tamp them down, with his usual statements about “the dream” of playing for Real Madrid and the strange interlocking-career he apparently has with fellow wantaway-to-Madrid, Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea must demand proper compensation for Eden Hazard, not just on principle but to buy the several players necessary to replace what he brought to the team. Then they must build a team in his absence – a greater balancing act than they seem to have the acumen to pull off.
1. Chelsea put themselves in this position, now they have to find their way out – Barrett Rouen
If Eden Hazard has to go then Chelsea should get as much money as humanly possible. Most of the exchange offers are poor, at best, and saddle the club with overpaid and overage players.
The minimum Chelsea should be asking for Hazard is near the £200 million range. It will be interesting to see how much he has hurt his value in recent weeks, however. Sadly, he is just not the player he was at the beginning of the season. If Chelsea cannot get that sum, then they should make up for it by accepting players in the opposite direction. If Real Madrid want Hazard but are unwilling to part with £200 million, then a deal for half that plus any two of Isco, Mateo Kovacic or Gareth Bale is the right move.
The Courtois issue is hysterical, if only because it exemplifies just how pathetic a spot Chelsea are in. That they have two influential players dictating their futures like this and dependent on one another is absurd. If they can, Chelsea should jettison Courtois this summer. No use re-signing him knowing he only ever viewed the club as a back-up.
Chelsea have looked pathetic in their overall handling of their goalkeeper situation situation. If they are selling Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, they should aim for an additional £30-45 million for Courtois. They can add Alban Lafont or Jan Oblak, and then wait a year on the other additions.
Chelsea should bleed in Callum Hudson-Odoi and let the market settle a little while they find a suitable replacement. Everyone will overcharge the summer Chelsea sell Hazard. No need rushing in as a buyer with an even further inflated transfer market.
The Blues should bring in Oblak or Lafont, and then partner Robert Lewandowski with Isco and Gareth Bale. Chelsea would be a very different and substantially better team with them than with Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois.