In a narrative 180, the London Evening Standard claims that Real Madrid are losing their long-term interest in Eden Hazard, interest that has fueled stories and transfer rumors for over six years now.
This is apparently, and unsurprisingly, due to Eden Hazard’s drop in form in the second half of the season, which has, not coincidentally, also resulted in Chelsea putting together a rather poor run of results. Combine that with Chelsea’s likely asking price north of £100m and it’s no wonder that Real would want to look elsewhere.
It should be noted that such a story from one of the club’s more favored journalists is likely to help Chelsea in upcoming contract negotiations with Hazard, who will be looking for a healthy pay rise if he decides to sign the last contract at the peak of his powers with the Blues.
Hazard himself has scheduled any such talks for after the World Cup this summer, which won’t leave Chelsea much time to find a replacement, should he decide suddenly that he does in fact want to leave as he has been rumored to want to do so for some time but has never actually followed through on any of it. A good performance at the World Cup could of course change Real’s interest once again — either way, it’s unlikely that this story is the end of this long-running rumor. Even a new Chelsea contract won’t be a complete guarantee of that.
Hazard’s contract situation is just one of several major issues that Chelsea need to sort out this summer, and the front office will not be helped by the abbreviated transfer window that won’t start in earnest until after the World Cup (July) and will end a month later, on August 9th, in the first year of England’s new regulations to close on transfers before the start of the season (instead of a few weeks in, as has been the case ever since transfer windows became a thing).
Chelsea will have to show real intent and clarity of vision to get good business done this summer (especially without Champions League football to offer), but based on prior evidence, that’s not exactly something we should bank on too hard. Granovskaia & Co could of course surprise us, get things done early and properly and make a few smart signings, but...