Chelsea are prepared to meet the £60million release clause of Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann this summer, but only if Eden Hazard pushes for an exit, reports the Daily Mail.
The French striker has long been a target for the Blues, but, until now, there has been no reason for them to spend such a large amount of money on him. Atletico Madrid's club policy states that no player is sold for under their release clause and £60m was deemed a heavy price for even Roman Abramovich to pay.
Not only would it represent the biggest transfer in Chelsea's history, but also Premier League history, taking him just above the £59.7m Manchester United paid for Angel di Maria in 2014.
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But the fee will be surmountable should Hazard make his intentions to leave Stamford Bridge clear. The Belgian has clearly been unhappy in London this season and there is interest from both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
Despite his poor form, Chelsea are still confident of generating close to £80m for Hazard and they would be prepared to reinvest much of that to finally bag Griezmann. Despite the fact that he plays in a central striker role for Atletico, his comfort across the forward positions makes him a natural successor to Hazard.
Chelsea, however, would still prefer to keep Hazard at the club. They made him the club's highest-ever earner last year, awarding him a five-year deal worth £200,000-a-week and they still consider him an integral part of their long-term plan. However, Hazard may not feel the same way.
He will have been affected by the way Chelsea fans reacted to Jose Mourinho's sacking with some pointing the blame at Hazard for failing to perform. Indeed, some even branded him a 'rat' for his alleged role in Mourinho's demise.
Griezmann has emerged as one of the hottest properties in Europe at the Vicente Calderon and is key to Atletico's title bid. He has scored 12 goals so far this season in La Liga following the 22 goals he scored last season.
As a result of his fine form, Atletico awarded him with a new contract last year, complete with that £60m release clause; the biggest in club history.
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