The Belgian forward starred at the World Cup and now Los Blancos are circling as they look to replace Cristiano Ronaldo
TRANSFER UPDATE: HAZARD LATEST, BOLASIE COULD MAKE PALACE RETURN AND FULHAM LOOK TO SECURE MITROVIC
Chelsea have told Real Madrid they will not be bullied into selling Eden Hazard – even for £170million.
The brilliant Belgian is on Real’s wishlist and it is understood that the Spanish giants are willing to pay the second biggest fee in transfer history to land their man.
But the Blues do not want to lose the playmaker and are adamant that, given he still has two years to run on his contract, they will not be forced into a deal.
New boss Maurizio Sarri said: “He’s one of the top European players.
I hope I can improve him but this will be difficult because he has reached a very high level.”
But following Belgium’s third-place play-off victory over England at the World Cup, Hazard suggested he was ready for a new challenge after six years in south-west London.
Hazard has made no secret of his desire to join Real Madrid
And his ‘people know my preferred destination’ comment was widely interpreted as a flirtation with Real.
But Chelsea believe that a new deal worth around £300,000 a week will be enough to keep the 27-year-old at Stamford Bridge and plan to talk to him about the situation when he returns from his holiday in a couple of weeks’ time.
New Blues’ boss Sarri is desperate to keep his star man Courtois’ future is more up in the air
The future of Hazard’s international team-mate Thibaut Courtois, however, is less certain, as he only has one year left on his contract.
Like Hazard, he will discuss his future when he returns from his post-World Cup holiday, but he has made no secret of the fact he wants to move back to Madrid, where he spent three seasons with Atletico, to be close to his children, who still live there.
Courtois has not signed the new £200,000-a-week contract on offer to him at Stamford Bridge and, should it remain unsigned, he will leave the club with a decision to make.
They can either allow him to run down his deal and risk losing him on a free transfer next summer or cash in now.