As we get ever closer to the Europa League final and the end of Chelsea’s 2018-19 season, the closer we also get to D-Day for Real Madrid’s Operation Hazard. At least that’s the assumption everyone seems to be operating under — except all those reports that had prematurely called Hazard’s completed transfer to the La Liga giants. It’s now abundantly clear, not that it ever wasn’t, that Hazard’s future will not be publicly known until after the season.
That said, things could move pretty quickly after the final, especially if any preliminary agreements had been struck. What definitely hasn’t been agreed on is a transfer fee, and on this all reports agree, with Chelsea continuing to hold out for at least £100m, but maybe £120m or more, and Real Madrid not yet willing to go that high.
According to the Evening Standard’s Simon Johnson however, Real manager Zinedine Zidane has had enough of his club’s waffling — he was promised basically carte blanche, after all, to return — and is “pushing the hierarchy” to get what he considers priority number one done. The Galácticos thus “will step up their bid” in a “big push”. The word prepared is used often.
Having finished well off the pace behind Barcelona, Real are facing a crucial summer of recruitment but they’re seemingly either not willing to or unable to splash the cash to the extent they once had — they’ve ended their Luka Jović pursuit, for example. Or maybe they’re just waiting to see what Kylian Mbappé does. If they had any sense, they’d go for him over Hazard any day and twice on Sunday.
Hazard himself claims he’s not thinking of anything beyond just next week’s Europa League final. So we might as well follow his lead in that one, too, and then let the chips fall where they may.