It seems inevitable that Chelsea will face the prospect of losing Eden Hazard at some point in the coming years.
Given the Belgian’s longstanding admiration of Real Madrid, the Spanish capital appears to be the only destination for which he would swap for London.
Los Blancos have made no secret of the feeling being mutual, either, much to the irritation of Roman Abramovich and the Blues faithful.
Despite being at the club a little less than six months, Maurizio Sarri is already growing tired of the ongoing saga.
The Italian even sent a blatant warning to Hazard in late December, declaring he needs to confirm whether or not Chelsea fulfil their long-term objectives.
“It’s time to decide,” Sarri said, per the Guardian.
“We have to solve this problem if we want to programme the future.”
Hazard is yet to respect his boss’ wishes, despite publicly insisting the lure of the La Liga giants isn’t distracting him from his current duties.
While that does count for something, Chelsea are likely to be in for a proper dogfight to keep hold of him next summer.
The 28-year-old has rejected the Blues’ attempts to extend his contract beyond next summer and, according to Marca, has no intention of considering any future efforts either.
As such, Madrid will go all in for his signature between the end of this campaign and the start of the next, rather than asking a January switch.
Marca’s report reads: “Real Madrid have been his dream since his time with Lille, and he intends to reject any other offers which come his way before the start of next season.
“The Belgian doesn't want to disrupt Chelsea's season and will wait until the end of the season before forcing a move; the Spanish giants also don't wish to go to war with the Blues by attempting to unsettle Hazard in January, even if they could do with an attacking reinforcement immediately.”
The fact Madrid are proceeding with such caution underlines the faith they’re putting in Hazard.
It’s common knowledge Florentino Perez doesn’t trust Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale or Isco to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo, and the team has suffered as a result.
Karim Benzema is their top goalscorer in league action with just seven, which accounts for almost a third of their total strikes.
The reigning European champions are third in La Liga, seven points adrift of leaders Barcelona after 20 fixtures.
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