Football

Hazard and Conte.

Antonio Conte identifies a winger to cover the injured Eden Hazard at the start of the season

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Last season, Chelsea were fortunate when it came to injuries.

Just like Leicester during the 2015/16 campaign, the Blues didn’t suffer any injuries to their key players allowing them to ease to Premier League glory.

But, just weeks after being crowned champions, it seems their luck has ran out.

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Whilst away on international duty with Belgium, Eden Hazard suffered a broken ankle meaning he is likely to miss the start of next season.

Hazard was magnificent for the west London club last term, scoring 16 goals and consistently producing impressive performances.

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However, Antonio Conte is now looking for cover for him with news that he’ll be unavailable for the first few weeks of next season.

And it seems he’s found it.

According to the Telegraph, Conte has identified Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez as an alternative to Hazard and are closely monitoring the situation.

Crystal Palace v Chelsea - Premier League

Mahrez's Leicester statement

The Algerian wrote a statement at the end of the campaign explaining why he wanted to leave the club this summer.

“Out of the huge admiration and respect I hold for Leicester City I wanted to be totally honest and transparent with them and have therefore informed the club I feel now is the time for me to move on,” read the statement.

“I had a good discussion with the chairman last summer and we agreed at that time I would stay for another year in order to help the club as best as I could following the transition of winning the title and in the Champions League.”

Leicester City v Watford - Premier League

Why Conte wants him

While Conte implemented his favoured 4-3-4 formation to perfection last season, it’s believed he wants to build a squad that could switch to 4-2-4 during matches.

As a result, the Italian boss was already seeking a new wide man even before Hazard was ruled out for three months.

But Leicester rate the former PFA Player of the Year at £50 million - a fee that Chelsea are unlikely to splash on him.

London rivals Arsenal are also thought to be interested in the 26-year-old but the player claims he has a verbal agreement to move to a Champions League club this summer - a competition that the Gunners failed to qualify for.

Mahrez is keen to stay in the Premier League and is understood to be keen on a move to a London club and he was last month caught on camera calling Chelsea “an incredible club. A real club.”

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Topics:
Eden Hazard
Didier Drogba
Francesc Fabregas
Football
Frank Lampard

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