Football

Arsenal & Chelsea alerted by Hazard exit talk

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Lille coach Rudi Garcia admits the club are already planning for life after Eden Hazard, which will alert the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.

The 20-year-old Belgian international is considered to be one of the hotest prospects in European football, and it is expected to be only a matter of time before the player leaves the reigning Ligue 1 champions.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of Hazard, and tried to utilise his French connections to bring him to the Emirates Stadium in the summer.

However, Chelsea have also been credited with an interest in the talented winger, and were recently identified as the club most likely to sign Hazard by Lille academy director Jean-Michel Vandamme.

Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas is keen to inject his Stamford Bridge squad with some bright young talent, and will be encouraged by Garcia's latest comments, after the coach revealed some thought has already gone into who could replace Hazard at Lille if he leaves for Chelsea or Arsenal.

"We're thinking about it, of course," he said. "But it is still a little early at the moment.

"It would be very hard to replace a player of Eden's calibre. We'll see what we can do, but for the moment we are making the most of his presence here."

Lille chairman Michel Seydoux is also readying himself for what is shaping up to be a busy summer for the club in 2012, with anticipated bids from Chelsea and the Gunners in June.

"If he and we are in agreement with him leaving, I don't know what his price will be at the end of the season," he said.

"What is certain is that we will have the means to recruit after he has gone."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Chelsea
Premier League

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