Chelsea's grip on Eden Hazard seems to be weakening by the day.
Not a summer goes by without the Belgian winger being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, but another season without Champions League football could finally see Hazard take the leap.
Speculation tends to surround Real Madrid and this summer has proven no different with the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo only amplifying the rumours.
Hazard is almost certain to be Los Blancos' preferred replacement this summer with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe publicly committing their futures to Paris Saint-Germain.
That's not to mention Hazard himself implying that those in football already know his 'preferred destination' and he has declared his love for Real on numerous occasions.
Hazard-Real Madrid links
The 27-year-old stated after the World Cup: “For my career, certainly after this World Cup, I’m at a moment where I might change.
"We all know that I’ve always felt well at Chelsea, so... I’ve been linked to all the big clubs.
"Next week it will be Bayern. No, I’m joking. You all know my preferred destination.”
Chelsea's message for Real Madrid
However, any move for Hazard wouldn't come easily and Real Madrid would likely need a blockbuster transfer fee to ensure they got their man.
Neymar's move to PSG last summer seemingly changed the transfer window forever and Hazard won't come cheap with his Chelsea deal extending to 2020.
And according to the Mirror, the Blues had an emphatic message for Real this week.
In fact, Chelsea have told the European champions that they won't be 'bullied' into a transfer and will even reject bids close to the Neymar world-record.
That's right, Chelsea wouldn't even accept an offer of £170 million. They're not messing about.
The report goes onto note: "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."
It seems the Blues are confident that Hazard could be persuaded into signing the contract he has already rejected, which few supporters saw coming.
Real Madrid could have to break world-records in order to get their man this summer.
The whole situation highlights just how difficult it is for Real to even vaguely 'replace' Ronaldo with their preferred targets proving tricky conquests.
If Chelsea remained stubborn over a transfer fee and pushed the idea of signing the existing contract, then their options will continue to dwindle.
Robert Lewandowski and Mauro Icardi have also been linked to Madrid but Chelsea's resilience could deal them a damning blow and - most importantly - ensure they keep their star man.
Do you think Chelsea are right to reject a £170m bid for Hazard? Have your say in the comments section below.
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