Eden Hazard looks like he is going to be the first major casualty of Antonio Conte's Chelsea reign after the club reportedly put him up for sale.
According to The Sun, who claim to have gathered information from two prominent agents close to Chelsea, Europe's top outfits have been told Hazard will be available this summer.
There is little to be surprised about by that, of course. Hazard's position at Stamford Bridge has been awkward ever since Jose Mourinho was sacked in December. He is widely believed to have been one of the main perpetrators that Mourinho referred to as "traitors" in the final days of his tenure.
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Conte has been made well aware of Hazard's role in Mourinho's demise and is concerned with the problems he may face with the Belgian. Indeed, the Italian coach is believed to hold even higher standards than his Portuguese counterpart, leaving Hazard with little chance of flourish under his charge.
Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have both been credited with a long-term interest in the 25-year-old although it is not known whether his poor form this season has since put them off. Hazard has scored just two goals in 31 starts this season, both of which came from dead-ball situations in the FA Cup.
Tired of London life
Many Chelsea fans expected Hazard's form to improve when Mourinho left. Their relationship had completely broken down and it seemed the diminutive winger was refusing to perform for him. However, while much of Chelsea's team, including Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, have rekindled their best form under Guus Hiddink, Hazard has continued to struggle.
It is now believed that he has grown tired of life in west London and has had his head swayed by a possible return to France, where he came through the youth system at Lille. He must also have concerns about the absence of Champions League football at Chelsea next season.
Chelsea stand to lose millions in revenue by missing out on qualification for Europe's elite competition and that hole in their finances may be one of the main reasons they have decided to put Hazard up for sale.
Although Hazard was once valued at £80m, his poor form and Chelsea's damaged negotiating position has seen that asking price come down to £50m. That would still represent a profit on the £32m they paid to sign him in 2012 but is substantially less than what they could have got had they cashed in last summer.
That money can be used to build the squad that Conte wants, including reported targets Arturo Vidal, Radja Nainggolan and Edinson Cavani.
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